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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance Note

Duncan & Toplis | 4 April 2020

Updated 04.04.20: We recognise that as business owners many of you will have concerns around coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may impact your employees and operations.

The situation and advice may change regularly and therefore we would strongly advise you to keep up-to-date daily.

General Advice

We would recommend that employers:

  • Keep your employees updated on actions being taken by the UK Government to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace. Frequent communication is important and employers should check their business continuity plans for clarity around their process.
  • Clarify to employees the process to follow if they have any concerns, think they may be at risk of infection, or have the symptoms of coronavirus themselves,  if they have been travelling, told to self isolate or are an extremely vulnerable person and must shield.
  • Consider how you could allow employees to work from home if they need to self-isolate and in response to the government’s instruction that employees should work from home and to reduce social contact.
  • Follow the government’s guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK.
  • Make sure you have all employee contact numbers and emergency contact details up to date and accessible in all eventualities.
  • Ensure managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and HR procedures in case someone in the workplace develops the virus.
  • Provide clean places to wash hands with hot water and soap and encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly. NHS guidelines say that a hand wash should take 20 seconds and hands should be rinsed thoroughly to remove bacteria followed by drying with a disposable towel which can be thrown away.
  • Give out alcohol based hand sanitisers (where available) and tissues to employees and encourage them to use them, especially if they are working off-site, until they can wash their hands with soap and water.
  • Communicate good hygiene practices to employees and encourage them to be mindful of what they touch, such as door handles, bus poles, stair rails and such like, in addition to avoiding touching their face, eyes, nose and mouth. Some have also discouraged hand shaking.
  • Remember the old saying “coughs and sneezes spread diseases” – always carry tissues and use these to cover your coughs and sneezes. Throw any used tissues away immediately and wash your hands.
  • Consider if protective face masks might help for people working in particularly vulnerable situations. This isn’t generally considered necessary, however, there may be some roles where it could be; for example, carers.
  • All business travel should be cancelled unless absolutely critical. Use other means of communication such as Zoom video conferencing, FaceTime, WhatsUp and such like.

Stay at home 

The UK Government have now directed that everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Individuals should only leave the house for very limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where work cannot be done from home

When outside and in the workplace, individuals must maintain social distancing rules and keep at least two metres apart from others.

For specific guidance on social distancing please visit the government website here

 

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Further queries

We understand this is a very difficult time and we are here to support you in anyway that we can. If you have any other questions in relation to this guidance, please do not hesitate to contact the Duncan & Toplis team.

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