Coronavirus: What Happens Now?
The most recent government guidance (as of 19th May 2020) on the coronavirus pandemic is that the British public should ‘Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives’. But what does staying alert mean?
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
Some workplaces have been advised to open if possible; this includes building sites and some office spaces. If you are going back to work, it is vital that you adhere to the 2-metre rule as much as you can. You should also take steps to protect those around you by wearing a face covering and washing your hands frequently. Some employers who work with the general public are also using clear screens to separate staff and customers.
The Prime Minister has also encouraged workers to avoid using public transport and instead find alternative ways to travel to work. If your workplace has reopened and you rely on public transport, you can speak to your employer about returning to work at a later date when public transport has been declared a safe option.
If your workplace remains closed and you have been placed on furlough (i.e. you aren’t currently working but are receiving a reduced wage from your employer), you may be worried about when these payments will end. The government have announced that the furlough scheme has been extended to October, which will give employers greater flexibility when deciding to reopen their places of work. This means that, as a furloughed worker, you will receive your wages until October.
Outside of work, the government have said that it is possible to visit members of one other household if you stay 2-metres apart at all times. You can also now take unlimited periods of exercise outdoors. The current restrictions in supermarkets are expected to continue for the next few months.
If you or someone in your household has developed symptoms, you MUST stay home. The NHS outlines symptoms of the virus as:
- high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If you think you have the virus, you can use the NHS 111 symptom checker at 111.nhs.uk/covid-19/.
For more information about the government guidelines, including safe social distancing and the furlough scheme, you can visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
If you are out on site or are heading back to work and need help or guidance, you can contact our office on 0191 337 1567.