Downing Street Briefing – Monday 12th July 2021
- Boris Johnson outlined the end to England’s social-distancing rules on 19 July, at the Downing Street press conference;
- The PM warned there will be more hospitalisations and deaths – saying the pandemic is not over;
- Mask use will be “advised” on public transport and in crowded and enclosed spaces even after legal controls end;
- Businesses will be given updated guidance for a “gradual” return to work over the summer, as the work from home if you can instruction will be dropped.
- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-summer-2021-roadmap/coronavirus-how-to-stay-safe-and-help-prevent-the-spread – how to stay safe and help prevent the spread from 19 July – GOV.UK
As part of step four, businesses and large event organisers will be encouraged to use so-called “COVID passports” – proof of double-vaccination, negative test or recovery from coronavirus – in “high-risk” settings in order to limit the spread of infections in their venues.
Updated guidance for those most at risk “the clinically extremely vulnerable” from COVID will also be published this week, ahead of the full reopening on Monday. It is expected to contain guidance about limiting their contacts and avoiding the unvaccinated, which is problematic to say the least.
Employers and venues that serve the public will still be under a duty or care and Health and Safety laws to ensure staff and customer safety. The onus of responsibility is now being placed on individuals and businesses alike. Risk assessment should be revisited in light of the changes.
Politicians and the Scientists agreed that no date was a good date for the unlocking, but with schools closing down for the summer break and fewer seasonal illnesses, now was the time to unlock slowly and with caution to limit hospitalisations and deaths.
Clinically extremely vulnerable Gov update
GOV Link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/19-july-guidance-on-protecting-people-who-are-clinically-extremely-vulnerable-from-covid-19
From 19 July, social distancing measures will be ended in the workplace and it will no longer be necessary for the government to instruct people to work from home.
However, employers still have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and others from risks to their health and safety. Employers should be able to explain the measures they have in place to keep employees safe at work.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance on protecting vulnerable workers.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is available until 30 September. Employees in this category may be eligible throughout this period, even when shielding is paused, but it remains the employers choice.
The guidance advises this group to exercise personal choice, but to be cautious. It encourages them:
- to meet others outside if possible;
- ensure any inside meetings are well ventilated;
- maintain social distancing where possible;
- work from home where possible;
- to avoid mixing with unvaccinated individuals.
*Individual risk assessments would be advisable in order to mitigate and document the risks.