UK Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan Released
Originally published by HR Dept.
The UK Government released plans for managing coronavirus through the winter.
The 64-page document contains vital information on how England will emerge from the current national lockdown on December 2nd.
The COVID-19 Winter Plan can be read in full on the government website, below is a summary of information you may find helpful.
- England will return to a regional three-tier system from December 2nd. The restrictions within each tier are positioned as being tougher than those used previously.
- Tier allocation is expected to be announced this week.
- On 2nd December, regardless of tier, shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen.
- Schools, colleges, universities, and early years settings will open. Registered childcare, other supervised activities for children and childcare bubbles permitted.
- Everyone who can work from home should continue to do so.
- The clinically extremely vulnerable will be provided with specific advice on how to protect themselves in each tier. This will replace the current “stay at home” advice.
- Legislation will be introduced, by the end of the year, requiring care home providers to restrict all but essential movement of staff between settings in order to reduce transmission.
- The Government will continue to provide better data, clearer guidance, and a toolkit to help businesses protect individuals at higher risk, in part due to their occupation, when they are in the workplace.
Notable restrictions by local tier
Tier 1 – Medium alert
- Bars, pubs and restaurants can operate table service only (takeaway still permitted) and must stop taking orders at 10 pm. They must close by 11 pm.
- Large events, including business events, can happen at 50% capacity (or, if lower, 4000 outdoors, 1000 indoors). Social contact limits apply.
Tier 2 – High alert
- Pubs and bars must close unless operating as restaurants.
- Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.
- Last orders at 10 pm, must close by 11 pm.
- Large events, including business events, can happen at 50% capacity (or, if lower, 2000 outdoors, 1000 indoors). Social contact limits apply.
Tier 3 – Very high alert
- Hospitality is closed with the exception of sales by takeaway, drive-through or delivery
- Indoor venues must close
- Travel should be avoided outside of the area unless necessary e.g for work, medical, caring.
- Accommodation must close unless it is for limited purposes, e.g stays for work or people who cannot return home.
- Events should not take place. Drive-in events permitted.
A note on home working
Working from home where possible continues to be the message and the Government encourages employers to enable a greater degree of home working. Guidance will be strengthened to be very clear that anyone who can work from home should do so.
Specific reasons why attendance in the workplace may be needed, including mental health issues or concerns; and/or a need to work on-site physically in industries and sectors where working from home is not possible. For example, much of the construction and manufacturing sectors, and where people’s jobs necessitate working in other people’s homes.
Businesses must have taken clear steps to protect the health and safety of staff and customers through following Government guidance, making their workplaces COVID-secure.
Understanding the new rules
It is crucial that employers take the time to understand the new three-tier system as there will be consequences for non-compliance.
If you are in need of professional HR advice to assist with people management in your business at this time, please contact us.