We are getting lots of businesses and tradespeople asking us whether they can continue to go to work. Indeed, we have been told of instances where the police have stopped vehicles, for example a gardener who was going to tend a garden, and ask them to return home as in their opinion, their journey to and from a site or place of work is not essential. We are happy to clarify the position as follows and have also made North Yorkshire Police aware of the rules.
The overriding position is that the government, other than a specified list of businesses, has not required any other businesses to close – indeed, the advice says, it is important for business to carry on.
So yes, you can go to work as long as you:
- Are not a business that’s on the list required to close
- Can’t work from home
- Respect government social distancing rules at work
This is a summary of the rules on going to work:
- As set out in the section on staying at home, you can travel for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.
- With the exception of the organisations covered in the section on closing certain businesses and venues (see below), the government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on.
- Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.
- Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to, from and for their work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.
- If you cannot work from home then you can still travel for work purposes, provided you are not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.
- Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).
- Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.
- No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.
- No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
- As set out in the section on closing certain businesses and venues, the Government has published guidance on which organisations are covered by this requirement. Advice for employees of these organisations on employment and financial support is available at gov.uk/coronavirus.
- At all times, workers should follow the guidance on self-isolation if they or anyone in their household shows symptoms.