England is moving to Step 4 of the Government’s re-opening roadmap on Monday 19th July.
While the move sees legal restrictions removed, to comply with the following guidance from Government, businesses will still need to impose restrictions in the workplace and, at least initially, these may be very similar to those required at present.
We would like to know your thoughts on these plans. Is there anything that requires more clarity? Is the guidance workable in your industry? Click here to let us know what you think.
Specific guidance has been provided for the following sectors (follow the links to view the full guidance):
- Construction and other outdoor work
- Events and attractions
- Hotels and guest accommodation
- Offices, factories and labs
- Restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs and takeaway services
- Shops, branches and close contact services
The guidance identifies 6 priority actions for all businesses to take.
1. Firms MUST complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes Covid
• Legal requirement to protect workers and others from risks to their health and safety.
• Consider reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities.
• Remain responsive to workers’ needs
• Adopt practices that help to reduce the risks to individuals in the workplace – e.g. when not every adult will have been offered two vaccine doses etc.
• With some exemptions, such as where the business employs fewer than 5 people/the businessperson is self-employed, the assessment should be in writing.
2. Provide ventilation
• natural or mechanical and minimise use of unventilated space
• Avoid areas of congestion
• Use C02 monitors
3. Clean surfaces more often
• ask staff and customers to wash hands and/or use sanitiser
• Clean surfaces regularly and avoid shared equipment
4. Turn away staff or customers with COVID-19 symptoms
• Illegal to allow people to work if self-isolating
• Enable workers to work from home while self-isolating if appropriate.
5. Enable people to check in at your venue
• No legal requirement to collect customer contact details – but doing so would help in track and trace
• Optional to display QR code poster and no need to turn people away if they refuse.
6. Communicate and train
• Keep all your workers, contractors and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using and updating safety measures.
Return to work
The Government recommends a gradual return to workplaces over the summer and employers should start to plan and discuss arrangements with the workforce that meet both business and individual needs.
Although social distancing is no longer strictly required, firms are encouraged to put in place measures to reduce contact between people, particularly between customers and workers, e.g. use ‘fixed teams or partnering’ or ‘cohorting’, screens or barriers to separate people from each other, and/or using back-to-back or side-to-side working (instead of face-to- face working).
Face coverings are no longer required by law, but the government recommends that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded, enclosed spaces. Firms should “consider encouraging” (through signage) use of face coverings by workers or visitors.
Protecting People at Higher Risk
Employers should give extra consideration to people at higher risk and to workers facing mental and physical health difficulties. Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable are no longer advised to shield, but firms should continue to support these workers by discussing with them their individual needs and supporting them in taking any additional precautions advised by their clinicians – and consider providing support for workers around mental health and wellbeing.
Covid Outbreaks in the Workplace
Employers who become aware of any positive cases of COVID-19 in the workplace, should inform the Local Authority public health team, immediately identify any close workplace contacts and ask them to self-isolate.
The Government encourages organisations, particularly places “where people are likely to be in close proximity to a large number of those from other households” (which is not further defined) such as crowded indoor settings (for example nightclubs) and larger outdoor settings, to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry to reduce the risk of transmission at your venue or event.
Businesses and other organisations should not require certification from those 18 or younger or from any person who declares they are medically unable to be certified (i.e. cannot vaccinate or test).
Remember to let us know what you think of the guidance.
For more information on what the guidance means for your business join our online event on Wednesday 21st July:
Back to the Future: How the lifting of restrictions will affect businesses and employers