As we move into phase two of the government’s easing of lockdown many businesses are eagerly preparing to reopen when the time is right.
The government has consulted with 250 businesses, unions, industry leaders as well as devolved administrations to produce a series of guidelines to help make workplaces as safe as possible and to give employees the confidence to return to work.
Which businesses are opening and when?
Current advice remains that if you can work from home you should continue to do so. Currently businesses which can or will be reopening include:
- Throughout lockdown – Essential stores, supermarkets, pharmacies
- During May – DIY stores
- From June 1st – Garden centres, outdoor markets, car showrooms
- From June 15th – All non-essential shops
- From July 4th (at the earliest) – Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, beauticians, hotels, and cinemas
How to prepare your business for reopening
The government guidance sets out five key points which businesses should implement before considering reopening premises:
It sets out practical steps for businesses focused on five key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:
Work from home, if you can
All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, employees should return to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open.
Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
Employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and all businesses with over 50 employees will be expected to do this.
Maintain two-metres social distancing, wherever possible
Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain two-metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one-way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.
Where people cannot be two metres apart, manage transmission risk
Employers should investigate putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.
Reinforcing cleaning processes
Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.
Guidance for individual businesses
Some businesses such as garden maintenance or construction companies will be able to introduce social distancing measures much easier than those which operate in confined indoor spaces.
To help individual firms to prepare for reopening, the government has also produced specific guidance for different industries.
Sectors covered in the guidance include:
- Construction and other outdoor work – for people who work in or run outdoor working environments
- Factories, plants and warehouses – for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses
- Labs and research facilities – for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments
- Offices and contact centres – for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments
- Other people’s homes – for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people’s homes.
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery – for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services
- Shops and branches – for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments
- Vehicles – for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar
CLICK HERE for guidance on the individual sectors listed above.
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