To support businesses and the self-employed to continue to work safely during the pandemic as we move to Step 4, the UK Government have published updated Working Safely guidance. The guidance covers a range of different types of work and also includes guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people’s homes. You can also find updated guidance on hosting weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and other celebrations in England during step 4 on GOV.UK.
The government have also extended NHS Test and Trace’s free workplace testing offer until the end of July, with 19 July as the final date to place orders. Free workplace testing will therefore now end on 31 July. After the end of July, we would encourage you to direct your employees to pharmacy collect and online ordering to continue accessing rapid lateral flow tests. As we continue returning to normal, twice-weekly testing remains key and we recommend people continue to test.
Main Changes in Step 4:
From Step 4, legal restrictions can be lifted, all businesses can open and the government is no longer instructing people to work from home.
To support businesses through this next phase, the ‘Working Safely’ guidance will continue to provide advice on sensible precautions employers can take to manage risk and support their staff and customers.
Businesses still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify.
You should use the guidance to consider the risk within your premises and decide which mitigations are appropriate to adopt.
In the long term, we expect that businesses will need to take fewer precautions to manage the risk of COVID-19. We will continue to keep our guidance under review and will remove advice once it’s safe to do so.
From Step 4, social distancing guidance will no longer apply. This means that you do not need to implement social distancing in your business, workplace or venue, and customers and workers do not need to keep apart from people they don’t live with.
The government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, so employers can start to plan a return to workplaces. During this period of high prevalence, the government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer. You should discuss the timing and phasing of a return with your workers.
Employers and others must continue to follow statutory health and safety requirements, conduct a risk assessment, and take reasonable steps to manage risks in their workplace or setting, as set out in the below guides.