You will be very aware that the UK Government has now implemented a three tier system in order to control the spread of Coronavirus at a time where the number of infections and hospital cases are increasing. This has undoubtably caused confusion as nothing seems to be straightforward at the moment! Happily though, the picture for businesses largely remains unchanged for the majority of cases. We thought it would be useful, therefore, to just summarise the business position for each of the three tiers:
- Tier 1 – Medium Risk – If employees can work from home then they should do so. If work cannot be undertaken at home then employers must provide a Covid Secure workplace. Pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm and groups must be limited to 6 or less.
- Tier 2 – High Risk – If employees can work from home then they should do so. If work cannot be undertaken at home then employers must provide a Covid Secure workplace. Pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm and groups indoors must not mix with anyone from outside of their household or support bubble. Groups outdoors can be from multiple households but are limited to groups of 6.
- Tier 3 – Very High Risk – If employees can work from home then they should do so. If work cannot be undertaken at home then employers must provide a Covid Secure workplace. Pubs and bars must close from today (Wednesday 14th October) unless they are serving substantial meals, such as a main lunchtime meal or evening meal. Alcohol may only be served as part of a meal. Groups indoors and outdoors must not mix with anyone from outside of their household or support bubble. In addition, casinos, betting shops and adult gaming centres will also be closed along with indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios and sports facilities (with an exemption for organised indoor team sports for disabled people and children’s activities).
As you can see for the majority of UK businesses, there are no changes from the current guidance. What is important, however, is that you ensure that your workplace is Covid Secure. This means that you:
- Ensure that Social Distancing is in place and enforced. 2m separation should be the norm, however if this is not practicable then 1m+ can be used. This means that facial coverings must be worn at all times when 2m separation cannot be guaranteed. You need to consider the use of one way systems to minimise close contact during entry and exit from the building.
- Cleaning, hygiene and handwashing should be increased. You will need to increase the frequency of cleaning of high contact areas (door handles, light switches, kitchen areas, toilets etc.). Handwashing facilities including running hot water and soap.
- Provide information to your employees. Ensure that you have the Covid Secure poster displayed for your employees and visitors to see. There are a number of free posters from Public Health England that can be used to provide information throughout your workplace. Also make sure that they fully understand any adjustments that you need them to make in order to ensure that the workplace is safe.
- Risk assessment – make sure that you have a Covid-19 risk assessment and that this is amended regularly to ensure that it is up to date.
All business should ensure that they are also complying with their sector specific advice. If you need specific advice for your situation, please do not hesitate to contact our Risk or HR consultants who are here to assist you in these difficult times. Call 01302 341 344.