Hassle Free HR – “Lockdown” Advice
At 8:30pm on Monday 23rd March 2020 the Prime Minister announced strict measures to prevent the Coronavirus infecting more people within the UK. For the next 3 weeks (at least) we are required to stay at home as much as possible, gatherings of over 2 people are banned, family members are not permitted to visit one another, and people are only permitted to travel to work if it is absolutely essential. There has been some confusion over whether this means all workplaces that do not contain “key workers” must close, but we can now confirm that this is not the case. The Government has been very clear from day one of the UK Coronavirus crisis that employees should be working from home wherever physically possible. The Government also confirmed, on 24th March 2020, that people are still able to travel to their workplace if they cannot work from home.
For those employers who cannot agree to home working, careful consideration needs to be given to the precautionary measures within the workplace. Social distancing applies to the workplace, so any employees who must travel to the workplace, must be kept a minimum of 2 meters apart. Employees who travel for work purposes or visit customer premises should not be exposed to unnecessary risks. For example, engineers and plumbers are currently being advised to attend emergency visits only. If you have employees in similar roles to these, we advise the same measures are taken.
The above guidance does not apply to anyone employed in one of the types of business that has been ordered to close by the Government to prevent members of the public from disregarding the lockdown. For clarity, these are:
- Pubs, cinemas, theatres and restaurants.
- All non-essential retail stores.
- Libraries, community centres and youth centres.
- Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.
- Communal places within parks such as playgrounds and sports courts.
- Places of worship, with exceptions being made for funerals.
- Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, and campsites, etc, with exclusions being made for permanent residents and key workers.
This list is not exhaustive, more information can be found here.