GOING TO WORK
I am sad to see that businesses are often still wrongly criticised for staying open and employees are challenged about going to work even when they are complying with the rules.
I also note that there are ongoing suggestions that certain jobs are ‘non essential’ so they should not be allowed to take place.
In other areas (thankfully not in Stroud to my knowledge) local authority workers have been spat at for just trying to get on with their job collecting waste etc. Such behaviour is appalling and unnecessary.
The rules about work during the Coronavirus outbreak were created by the Chief Medical Officer, Chief Scientific Officer and army of experts who have an overview of modelling and planning for the entire UK .
I understand that some people have personal views about who should or should not be allowed to work and others disagree with the experts, but we need to follow the rules we have.
If the expert advice changes, I will let you know. Until then, please read and share the information below:
The leading advice continues to be Stay At Home apart from for a few exceptions (1. shopping for basic necessities; 2. one form of exercise a day; 3. a medical need; and 4. travelling to work where you cannot work from home).
You can continue to go to work so long as you:
1. Do not work for a business that’s on the list required to close.
2. Cannot work from home.
3. Respect the expert social distancing and cleaning rules at work.
In practice this means almost all working in construction, machinery plants, gardeners, manufacturing or engineering businesses. We all know a lot of people in these sectors who simply will not be able to earn a living if they stayed at home.
It is not right that people should be prevented from working and keeping their businesses going when others who are able to work at home can keep going. We need these industries and I will always champion skills across a range of sectors.
Therefore, if you or a member of your family are working in a business that has not been ordered to close and can operate safely then of course those businesses can go on doing so - and you too should carry on provided:
a.) you are not showing coronavirus symptoms
b.) neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating.
This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.
Businesses that are staying open need to ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines in the office, on site and in factories etc.
This includes, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing hands regularly with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available). There are some examples of places of work that cannot comply with the guidelines but most have adapted.
If you are an employee or a business that is worried about compliance with Public Health England safety guidelines, look at www.gov.uk/coronavirus for more information, speak to your employer/employee and contact me if you need to.
We have seen some really creative solutions from businesses and employees to ensure that the safety rules can be applied or personal situations accommodated (such as employees with extremely vulnerable family members at home).
Working in people’s homes
Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.
Again, it is important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.
No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.
No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
The full guidance is here:
I hope this is helpful. As with all the rules concerning this new unprecedented situation, they require both employers and employees to be responsible about safety in the workplace.
With kind regards