The UK government, in consultation with industry, has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The new guidance covers 8 workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways. This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:
- Work from home, if you can
- Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
- Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
- Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
- Reinforcing cleaning processes
The 8 guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep employees safe.
- Construction and other outdoor work – Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.
- Factories, plants and warehouses – Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses
- Homes – Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to home environments as well as their employers
- Labs and research facilities – Guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments
- Offices and contact centres – Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery – Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.
- Shops and branches – Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.
- Vehicles – Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.
On Sunday 10th May Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on coronavirus. Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy has been published, outlining the UK Government’s plan for rebuilding and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. The roadmap to lift restrictions step-by-step will be of particular interest to businesses and employers. In step 1, which will apply from Wednesday 13 May in England:
- Workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible.
- All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open, for example this includes food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories. The only exceptions to this are those workplaces such as hospitality and non-essential retail which during this first step, the Government is requiring to remain closed.
- As soon as practicable, workplaces should follow the new “COVID-19 Secure” guidelines.
- It remains the case that anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work. Those people should self-isolate, as should those in their households.
As the rate of infection may be different in different parts of the UK, this guidance should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Staying alert and safe (social distancing) guidance
New guidance on social distancing has been published. The guidance includes information on businesses and venues and going to work. This guidance applies in England – people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.
Staying safe outside your home guidance
New guidance has been published on the principles that should be followed to ensure that time spent outside the home is as safe as possible.
Active transport strategy
Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks, as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund to relieve the pressure on public transport. The Government will also be launching a campaign to encourage more people to look at alternative ways to travel, to walk or get on a bike for their commute instead of public transport. E-scooter trials will also be brought forward from next year to next month to help encourage more people off public transport and onto greener alternatives. Find out more here.
Public advised to cover faces in enclosed spaces
The public is advised to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces such as shops, trains and buses to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. They do not need to be worn outdoors, while exercising, in schools, in workplaces such as offices, and retail, or by those who may find them difficult to wear. Find more information here.
New portal for care homes to arrange coronavirus testing
A new online portal that makes it easy for care homes in England to arrange deliveries of coronavirus test kits has been launched today.
Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do
Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak have been updated. This guidance applies in England.
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidance on coronavirus
Guidance and information for industry, healthcare professionals and patients covering the coronavirus outbreak has been updated to include warnings against purchasing fake or unlicensed coronavirus medicines.
Webinars: Watch recorded session. Recorded webinars are available to help businesses: