Yesterday the Government once again introduced new measures to tackle the rise in Coronavirus cases.
During his address the Prime Minster was keen to make it clear that this was not a general instruction to stay at home and that we are not returning to a full a full lock down, like the one in March. The new measures will, however, have an impact on how businesses trade and the way in which employees work.
So, what has changed?
- Office workers who can work from home should do so.
- In all professions where homeworking is not possible, such as construction or retail – people should continue to attend their workplaces.
- From Thursday all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for takeaways.
- All hospitality venues must close at 10pm. This means closing and not just calling for last orders. The same will apply to takeaways – though deliveries can continue thereafter.
- The requirement to wear face coverings is extended to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
- In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, the Government’s Covid-19 secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules.
- From Monday 28th September, a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions with up to 30 people being able to attend a funeral.
- The rule of six is extended to all adult indoor team sports.
- The reopening of business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will not go ahead as planned from 1 October.
- The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.
What remains the same?
- Schools, colleges and universities will stay open.
- Businesses can stay open in a Covid-19 compliant way.
- The rule of six remains in place.
- The Government will continue to act against local flare-ups, working alongside councils and strengthening measures where necessary.
- Those who were previously advised to shield do not need to return to shielding – except in local lockdown areas – and this will be kept under constant review.
The Government has advised that unless anything changes, we should assume that the restrictions announced are likely to remain in place for the next six months.
These updates may result in the need for you to review working practices and require changes to current Coronavirus Risk Assessments. Equally employees will no doubt have questions about what this means for the way they work. Businesses should consider if employees who have previously worked from home should now return to this or if there are roles in business where working from home is possible. Communicating with staff about the action the business is taking in response to the new measure may help to alleviate concerns employees have.
If you need support on the impact any of these changes may have to your business we will be happy to help. Call 01302 341 344.
By Louise Turner Dip Mgmt (Open) Assoc CIPD – HR Business Partner
and Rachel Cuff CMIOSH – Risk Consultant