National lockdown: stay at home
First today it was Scotland to announce more severe Coronavirus restrictions, then England. Northern Ireland and Wales were already in lockdown but even there restrictions are being extended. Now with the National lockdown order to stay at home, you may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home.
What this means is that you need to reassess your workforce and decide who can reasonably carry out their work from home and only have those employees in the workplace who have to carry out tasks which can’t be completed at home. For many this will mean those working in the warehouse need to be in the workplace but send as many admin staff as possible home.
The lock down, which starts immediately but will become enforceable by law by Wednesday, will last until at least the February school half term, but realistically it’s going to be at least up until March. The reason for this is that the aim is by the middle of February the first vaccine dose should have been offered to everyone in the four top priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation… but there is a time lag of two to three weeks from getting a jab to receiving immunity and that pushes us into March at the earliest before it’s safe to slowly start reopening the country. Even if schools reopen at half term it’s unlikely that restrictions will vanish entirely in seven week’s time. Best guess it will be April or May at the earliest before we see some serious relaxations.
Even though vaccinations have started, remember that it’s three weeks after the initial does that some significant protection from the virus as been achieved and there are millions of people to vaccinate just to cover the most vulnerable. The much wished for ‘herd immunity’ is a long way off.
Whilst no one wanted another national lockdown, this will naturally present an opportunity for online sellers many of whom are likely to be busier than ever. With the high street retail pretty much shut, the only way people with a lockdown birthday (Yep, that includes me) will get a present is if you purchase it online. Life won’t stop, it will just be severely limited for the next few months.
National lockdown key points
This National lockdown sees some some notable differences to the first lock down.
Perhaps the most important is that we’re back to 2m social distancing. Frankly the 1m+ was largely ignored and meant a free for all jostling past anyone that was in the way. Wear a mask, it’s mandatory, but start taking notice of the lines on supermarket floors which are there to give guidance as to what 2m looks like.
If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live. Don’t be going to the big supermarket in the next town if you can make do with the smaller one local to where you live. Although of course if you need to work then you can travel there. Avoid public transport if possible and if you must use it then travel off peak when it’s likely to be quieter.
You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. This includes for instance a ban on crossing the border into Scotland from England. Generally International travel is only allowed for very large business deals so won’t apply to most people.
Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should not attend work so if they can’t work from home you will need to put them on furlough.
With schools closed after only opening for one day, many will now have child care responsibilities and the TUC has called for employers to furlough those looking after them. The tricky part now is that furlough is no longer free and employers will have to contribute towards NI and pensions. Flexibility on both sides will be needed.
You may now only exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area. Previously the travel restriction didn’t apply and in the summer we weren’t limited to once per day.
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. This stay local message is key as previously travel anywhere in the country was permitted.
Exams are cancelled this year – we’re expecting an announcement on how school children will receive qualifications shortly.
It is not being complied with as much up here anyway.
In my other work which is regarded as Key worker stuff, during the 1st lockdown I remember being the only thing on the motorway and could feel eyes staring at me from houses as I pulled into a street it was all very werid.
The motorway was rammed today and in Scotland the Nats put it into lockdown last night most people just went to work as normal
I know people on the brink now they cannot afford to do this now.
as we ride our desk around the UK
The only real difference to normal traffic is the lack of coaches
The official guidelines do say that you can go to work if you cannot work from home so therefore most people will be doing so.