PM Boris Johnson announced yesterday [December 8] plans to move England to Plan B following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the UK.
Shops, including kitchen, bedroom and bathroom showrooms, are allowed to remain open. However, from Monday, December 13, the Government is advising that people should work from home if they can. During the Prime Minister’s speech, he encouraged employers to use the rest of this week to discuss working arrangements with their employees.
Johnson said: “We will reintroduce the guidance to work from home. Employers should use the rest of the week to discuss working arrangements with their employees, but from Monday [December 13], you should work from home if you can. Go to work if you must but work from home if you can. I know this will be hard for many people, but by reducing your contact in the workplace, you will help slow transmission.”
On November 30, face masks became compulsory for some indoor settings, including retail, in England. Face coverings should be worn unless the individual is exempt or has a reasonable excuse. Staff are required to wear face coverings in the showroom when it is open to the public.
The Government has also encouraged everyone to test themselves regularly using the free lateral flow tests available online and from pharmacies. Testing is particularly important before entering somewhere where there are people you wouldn’t normally come into contact with, or when visiting a vulnerable person.
There have been no changes across the UK regarding rules of tradespeople working on domestic refurbishment or construction, and work can start and continue following Safe Operating Procedures (SOP). SOP varies from England and Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installation (BiKBBI) chief executive Damian Walters said: “This situation is far from over, but we have demonstrated as an industry that we can operate safely. The Government’s decision to allow trades to continue is critical to the stability of the economy and the recovery from what has been a challenging time for the UK.
“But while we continue, we must not take a casual view of how we deliver our service – especially in other people’s homes. This virus remains a significant threat to our society’s most vulnerable, and we have both a legal and moral duty to mitigate the risk by following the rules and applying common sense.”