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LOCKDOWN 2.0 – WHAT’S THE LATEST?

Written by Kevin Murphy

November 2, 2020

Further to the PM’s announcement on Saturday night England is likely to go back into Lockdown.  But what does this mean for your business?

Do I have to close my business?

The short answer is that it depends upon what you do.  Although we are waiting to see the proposed law the Government has provided us with an over view of what businesses must close, including:

  •  all non-essential retail including clothing and electronics stores, vehicles show rooms, ravel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops;
  •  indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, cinemas, gyms and spots facilities, golf courses, driving ranges, stables, theme and water parks;
  •  entertainment venues such as theatres, cinemas, concert venues, museums, bingo halls, zoos and other attractions;
  •  personal care facilities for example hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo and massage parlous, piercing services and non-medical acupuncture.
  •  unless operating a take away or delivery services (alcohol excluded) bars, pubs and restaurants must close.

Food shops, garden centres and supermarkets can remain open provided that they are all Covid Secure.  Hotels and hostels can operate but only for those who have to travel for work purposes.  Childcare facilities, school and universities can remain open.  Other services that provide support or therapy, such as rehabilitation can remain open with new Covid Secure Guidelines implemented.

The final list may differ as it is due to be voted on by Parliament.

Do my staff have to work from home?

Any who can work effectively from home must do so.  Where people cannot do so, for example if they work in critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing they can attend work.

Do people have to shield again?

No, the Government does not want to reintroduce shielding.  However, anyone over 60 or critically vulnerable should take extra steps to remain safe including additional hand washing. A person is critically vulnerable if;

  • they are over 70;
  • under 70 but;
    • have chronic mild to moderate respiratory conditions; or
    • have chronic heart disease; or
    • have chronic kidney disease; or
    • have chronic neurological conditions; or
    • have diabetes; or
    • have a weakened immune system; or
    • are seriously overweight; or
    • are pregnant.

Although not included in the most recent guidance the PM did say that anyone over 60 should not attend work, even if they are unable to work form home.  We await further clarification of this point.

What support can my business get?

The Government have essentially rolled back the clock to 1 August 2020 and have re-instated the flexible furlough scheme. The various support schemes as detailed HERE have been postponed for now.

As a recap, employees are entitled to 80% of their salary capped at £2500, this will be paid by the Government.  You can top this up to 100% should you wish to.  You will be obligated to pay Employers National Insurance and Pension contributions too.  Furlough 2.0 is the flexible furlough scheme allows staff to undertake some work and gives the employer the benefit of receiving a contribution to salary from the Government.  Eligibility criteria has changed however to include staff who were on payroll up to 30 October 2020.

What do I need to do now?

If you want to put your staff on Furlough 2.0 you will need to formally vary their contract we can provide the documentation for this.

Don’t forget that if you have staff with a lot of annual leave left you can instruct them to use some of their entitlement.  Remember you need to provide the right notice for this and ensure that your staff  have enough leave to cover any potential Christmas close down period.

No doubt many businesses are set up for home working already, but don’t forget you obligations to you staff extend to home working.  You may require a policy which we have drafted as a courtesy in these strange times.

If you have any questions in relation to Lockdown 2.0 or Furlough 2.0 please do get in touch

 

 

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