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Lockdown 3.0: What should businesses be doing?

How should businesses be responding to the news of a third national lockdown in the UK? Faye Reynolds, senior associate in Lodders’ employment law team, explains.

Earlier this week, a third national lockdown was announced by the government coming into effect on Tuesday 5th January 2021. The new lockdown guidance means people may only leave home to shop for basic necessities, to work (where this cannot be done from home), to exercise, to meet with their support bubble, or for education and medical purposes. The news has meant that once again a number of businesses have been temporarily closed.

Which businesses are closed?

In order to reduce social contact, the new regulations mean that many businesses must remain closed. A full list of business and venues which must close can be viewed here. The list includes non-essential retail, hospitality venues, accommodation, leisure and sports facilities, and a number of other attractions.

Some businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, as long as they are following Covid-19 secure guidelines. Generally, businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open.

More broadly, it remains the case that employees who can work from home should continue to do so.

How to make your workplace COVID-secure.

Legally, much of the advice on a Covid-secure workplace remains the same as the previous period of lockdown. There is specific advice available for a number of sectors, which is available here. The steps to be taken are outlined below.

Employees should work from home where possible. For businesses that cannot function on a work from home basis, it is important that employers carry out appropriate Covid-19 risk assessments and enforce two meters social distancing where they can.

Where this is not possible, the risk of transmission must be managed, for example with physical barriers and workplace shift patterns. There should also be additional cleaning practices implemented in workplaces.

What support is available for businesses which are closed?

Businesses in retail, hospitality, and leisure will receive grants of up to £9,000 per property in order to keep them afloat until spring. Firms will not have to pay this grant money back.

There is also business rates relief, and the furlough scheme has recently been extended until the end of April.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he will consider how to extend the support packages in the next budget announcement on 3rd March 2021.

Get in touch

Our employment lawyers offer accurate, no-nonsense HR and legal advice to a wide range of businesses that require “hands-on” assistance with the complexities of employment law. Please get in touch with Faye Reynolds on 01242 229093, or via email.

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For more information, please get in touch with Faye Reynolds on 01242 229093, or via email.