Posted on: 02 June 2020 (updated on 23 April)
COVID-19 measures in the UK
Across the UK, there are currently varying measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus. For the latest COVID-19 rules, regulations and measures, visit the government website of the country that you are based.
England: The latest guidance for businesses in England can be at the UK government website.
Northern Ireland: Northern Irish businesses can find the most up to date guidance at the Northern Irish Department of Health website.
Scotland: For the latest updates for Scottish businesses, visit the Scottish government’s website.
Wales: Business based in Wales can find the most up to date information by visiting the Welsh government website.
The following article may refer to government guidelines which were in place on the date it was published.
How to get your business running again after the COVID-19 pandemic
After many weeks of lockdown, the UK has slowly started lifting restrictions, and advised businesses to start thinking about reopening.
Although you may be eager to get your business up and running, you should be patient, follow government guidelines, and only reopen when you have put safety measures in place for both your members of staff and your customers.
We have tried to make this information relevant to businesses all around the UK. For more industry specific information, visit the government website.
Creating your return to work action plan for an English Business
Determine when to reopen
Firstly, you should decide when you want to reopen your business but only do so in line with government guidance.
Following the announcement on the 10th May 2020 by the Prime Minister, businesses such as construction and manufacturing businesses were allowed to go back to work, but many more businesses would need to remain closed.
Since mid-May, the government announced that non-essential retail businesses would be allowed to reopen in June, as part of phase two. It is predicted that in July 2020, even more businesses, such as those in the hospitality industry would be allowed to reopen, if all goes to plan.
Create a pandemic response team
Work with health and safety leaders in your business to create a response plan for what could happen if a second wave of the virus hits. Larger businesses could appoint members of staff from around the business to form a team that will make informed decisions on how to reopen your business.
As a business owner or manager, you should have regular contact, either via phone calls or virtual meetings to discuss how the business will reopen, and how this message will be conveyed to the rest of the wider team. Also, keeping in touch with your staff will allow you to discover any anxieties that they may have about returning to work, so you can put measures in place that will help them feel more at ease.
Thoroughly clean your workplace
Before any of your team come back to the business, everything should be completely sanitised to avoid the spread of the virus.
Once lockdown measures are eased, you can arrange for a professional cleaning company to come to your business and clean everything down.
To maintain high standards of cleanliness when your staff return to work, establish or revise new cleaning protocols in line with government guidance and set up handwashing stations.
Establish screening protocols and policies
Just because the lockdown has ended and people can go back to work, doesn’t mean that the virus is no longer a threat.
Implement policies in your business regarding the screening of your team. For example, if any of your team show signs of coronavirus infection, such as a cough or a fever, advise that they should not be in the workplace, need to self-isolate for 14 days and may need a book a test.
Distribute safety materials for your team
As a business owner or manager, work closely together with relevant members of your team to devise what kind of communications will be sent to your team for coronavirus safety.
Put up visual reminders, like posters, to communicate important information about new cleaning protocols or handwashing guides.
Keep any safety material in line with government guidance, but also try to make it relevant to your business and how it operates.
Finalise the reopening
Have a clear view of when you want to reopen and what this will look like. You should adhere to government guidelines as much as possible, and if you are unsure of anything seek guidance from your local council, industry body or trade association. Don’t rush into reopening your business.
Support for businesses, such as the furlough scheme for workers, is available until October 2020 and banks are still giving businesses loans to see them through.
You can also download and print out a certificate from the government website, showing that you have followed their guidance, taking the control of coronavirus seriously.
Creating your return to work action plan for businesses elsewhere in the UK
Whilst the announcement from the government in mid-May introduced new rules for how businesses can operate in the whole of the UK, Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh governments rejected these new regulations, sticking to the previous guidelines set out by the UK government.
When the UK government announced new steps in mid-May to allow more freedom and further businesses to open, the Scottish government decided that a more cautious approach was appropriate.
As of 26th May, businesses who were required to closed in line with the guidance released on 20th March are still required to remain closed. Take a look at this list at the Scottish government’s website.
At the time of writing, Northern Irish businesses that are allowed to be open can be found here, and include food retailers, pharmacies, petrol stations and post offices, amongst others. This is similar to the initial phase of coronavirus in England.
Businesses can start to plan for reopening, however, this might not be in line with UK government guidance which is looking to allow more businesses to open in June or July.
The Welsh devolved government have taken a similar stance to Scotland, where, at the time of writing, only essential businesses would be allowed to open, with many businesses remaining closed.
Take a look at the Welsh government website to find out which businesses must remain closed until further notice.
Business insurance with Premierline
It’s important to make sure that you have the right insurance in place to protect the business that you have built.
Every business is different and has its own business insurance needs, which is why we work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurers to make sure that you are getting the right insurance cover for your business.
To help you and your business during these unprecedented circumstances, Premierline has taken steps to ensure that we can continue to offer our award-winning service.
Source: Zywave Inc. – Video: 6 Steps for Creating a Return to Work Action Plan
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