Coronavirus Updates: what are the new restrictions?
On Tuesday, 22 September 2020, the Government announced tighter restrictions following an increase in Covid-19 cases.
Hands. Face. Space.
The Prime Minister reiterated the importance of the new campaign, namely to prevent the spread of Covid-19, particularly given that the winter season is fast approaching. ‘Hands. Face. Space’, initially published on 9 September 2020, is designed to urge the nation to wash their hands, use a face covering when social distancing is not possible and to try and keep distance between those who are not within their household.
Remote Working/Working from Home
In a U-turn, the Government suggested that those who can work remotely should do so over the winter months. If however, an employee is working in essential services, including the education sector or is unable to work from home, they should continue to go to their workplace.
Where employees cannot work from home, employers must ensure that workplaces are Covid-19 secure. The Government has published 14 Guides covering a range of working environments, including offices, hospitality and construction. Some employers may find it useful to review multiple guides, for example, where a business has an office and a warehouse. Further information on Covid-19 secure workplaces can be found here.
Employers and businesses will also face stricter rules in connection with ensuring that their premises are Covid-19 secure, effective from 28 September 2020:
- Leisure and entertainment venues, including services provided in community centres and close contact services, will be subject to Covid-19 secure requirements by law. Fines of up to £10,000.00 will be issued for repeat offenders.
- Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is required to self-isolate to come to work.
- Employers must remind people, including staff, to wear face coverings where it is mandatory.
Further rules surrounding face coverings have also been the talk of the nation, these include:
- From 23 September 2020, customers travelling in private hire vehicles and taxis must wear face coverings.
- From 24 September 2020, customers in hospitality venues (except when seated to eat or drink) will be required to wear a face covering. Staff in hospitality must also wear face coverings.
- From 24 September 2020, face coverings and visors must be worn, by law, in services which require close contact.
- Staff working on public transport, including taxi drivers, are to continue wearing face coverings
Other Rules – Effective from 24 September 2020
Businesses which sell food or drink, including without limitation cafes, pubs and restaurants, social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys and indoor and outdoor leisure centres, must close their doors between the hours of 10.00 pm and 5.00 am. This will include takeaway services however, delivery services can continue beyond 10.00 pm.
In licensed premises, where food or drink is served, meals and drinks must be ordered from and served to a table. Customers may no longer order directly at a bar or front of house and must consume food and drink from their table.
Businesses must display official NHS QR Code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their details to the business. To create a QR Code for your business or for more information, please click here.
In addition to the NHS QR Code, the NHS released a Covid-19 App for smart mobile telephones, the main features are:
- Trace: find out when you’ve been near others who have tested positive for coronavirus.
- Alert: lets you know the level of coronavirus risk in your postcode district.
- Check-in: get alerted if you’ve visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus, using a simple QR Code scanner (as above).
- Symptoms: check if you have coronavirus symptoms and see if you need to order a test.
- Test: helps you order a test if you need to.
- Isolate: keep track of your self-isolation countdown and access relevant advice.
The NHS suggest that the app will be the fastest way of knowing when you are at risk from Covid-19. “Protect yourself. Protect your loved ones. Download the app”: