The Government announces a new level of restriction for certain areas to be in place from 20th December.
Employers do not only have to manage their own personal safety during these times, but also the safety of their employees, their clients and any others that can be affected by their activities, which is why the new Tier 4 is especially relevant to them.
If you are based or carry out work in the following areas the new restrictions will affect your business;
Bedford, Central Beds, Luton, Milton Keynes, Hertfordshire, Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Castle Point, Chelmsford, Epping Forest, Harlow, Malden, Rochford, Southend on Sea, Thurrock, Peterborough, all 32 boroughs of London and the City of London, Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor, Maidenhead and Wokingham, Buckinghamshire, Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth, Hastings and Rother, all of Kent and Medway, all of Surrey excluding Waverley.
The emergence of a new strain of the Coronavirus which appears to be more easily transmittable has made it necessary for the Government to impose tighter restrictions in some areas of the country where it appears to be more prevalent in a bid to reduce transmission and thus further spread throughout the Country.
This new variant of the disease which has only recently come to light is not in itself expected to produce different symptoms or even produce a higher mortality rate but investigations into its full affects are still underway. The way to control this strain of the virus is the same as any other, it will not spread if we avoid close contact with others. So, the basic advice is now;
- HANDS – wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds,
- FACE – wear a mask in indoor settings, especially where it is difficult to keep your distance, OR you are likely to come into contact with people you do not know
- SPACE – keep your distance (a minimum of 2 metres) from others, or where this is not possible at least 1 metre if wearing a mask.
- REDUCE SOCIAL CONTACTS – One of the bigger issues with this illness is that “asymptomatic” people or people with no outward sign they have the disease – still pass it on. With the new variant being apparently easier to transmit asymptomatic people are a bigger risk and therefore need to be avoided. As you never will know if an infected person, who is asymptomatic is passing you an infection, reducing your social contacts is the best defence.
IT IS TO THIS LAST AIM that the TIER 4 level has been introduced.
- People in TIER 4 areas should only leave home for the reasons listed below.
- People in Tier 4 restrictions should not allow other people who are not within their support bubble structures to enter their homes unless it is an emergency.
Work / Volunteering: You can leave home for work purposes, where your place of work remains open, is Covid-secure and you cannot work from home.
Essential activities: You can leave home to shop or to obtain services from a business which is allowed to be open in your Tier 4 area such as click and collect services, chemists, essential banking, etc., but you should stay local.
Fulfilling legal obligations: You can leave home to fulfil legal obligations, or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property.
Education and childcare: You can leave home for education purpose which are related to the formal curriculum, training, registered childcare, under-18 sport and physical activity and supervised activities for children that are necessary to allow parents / carers to work, seek work, or undertake education or training.
Meeting others and providing care: You can leave home to visit people within a Support or Childcare Bubble and / or to attend a support group of less than 15 people.
Exercise and recreation: You can leave home to exercise outdoors where you can carry out exercise alone, with your household, support bubble, or one other person – although you should keep your time outside to a minimum, especially in a public outdoor place.
Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits: You can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies, to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness, to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse),or for animal welfare reasons – such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment of a pet.
Communal worship and life events: You can leave home to attend a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or a related event for someone who has died, or to visit a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony – but funerals, linked events and weddings are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend.
The information provided does change, sometimes at a fast pace, so the best advice for us to give is for you to all keep yourself as up to date as possible with what is relevant to your business and by extension your employees by utilising the Government websites to ensure you are as up to date as possible.
- Check the postcode(s) relevant to your business address and the areas within which your business operates to determine the Tier level(s) and what your best practice should be,
- Determine the most up to date guidance relevant to your business and keep your employees and where necessary your clients up to date with what requirements you need to operate under.
- Keep yourself, your business and your employees safe