When can we return to work safely?

10th March 2021 Posted in Blogs

There are some words which we would genuinely like to never hear again and you can count lockdown, easing, and roadmap amongst them! Many of the U.K workforce is still working from home but with the government having now set out its plan to exit lockdown, the time is drawing near when millions of people will be able to return to work but what exactly does this mean? 

Here we answer 5 key questions:

  1. The kids are back in school, so can my employees return? 

No, the ‘ Stay At Home’ rule remains in place until 29th March with government advice to work from home wherever possible. From 29th March restrictions on movement are lifted but the advice to work at home wherever possible still remains. Businesses including outdoor sports facilities and formally organised outdoor sports can re-open to the public – meaning your staff can also return. 

  1. There’s five of us in the office, so when groups of six can meet up we’re ok? 

No, the rule of six applies to meeting outdoors or in private gardens and comes into place on 29th March, it’s still advised at this date to work from home wherever possible. From the 12th of April non-essential retail, personal care such as hairdressers and nail salons, public buildings, libraries, the majority of outdoor attractions and hospitality venues (serving outdoors only) are able to open, if you work in these industries this is the date your staff can return safely. 

  1. We don’t fit into the non-essential retail category? When can we return?

The 17th of May sees the rules surrounding most social contact lifted outdoors, outdoor performance resumes as do sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people whilst 30 people will be able to attend weddings indoors, indoor hospitality will also resume but there is no fixed date for businesses who fall outside of these categories. 

  1. Who makes the decision about office workers? 

It is anticipated that the government will largely leave these decisions to independent businesses in line with other guidelines. For example, it has been possible throughout the national lockdown to hold business meetings so long as they are outdoors or in a public place, likewise travel for business has been permitted – if the business deems it essential.

  1. When do restrictions officially end? 

June 21st is the date when the government hopes to lift all legal limits on social contacts. For many businesses who don’t fall into the earlier categories, this would seem like a natural option for a return to the office. 

Whenever your business and employees are able to re-open or return to premises you must assess the health and safety risk faced by your employees. You should already have risk assessments in place but these will require updating in relation to COVID-19 where the government states ‘ you need to think about the risks your employees face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, whilst recognising you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19. 

Do you need an updated risk assessment? Talk to us today to find out how we can help. 

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