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Covid-19 Update – Plan B

The government has announced that England will move to ‘Plan B’ in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.

This means:

  • From 10 December, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor settings.
  • From 13 December office workers who can work from home should do so.
  • From 15 December, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.

Work from home

From Monday 13th December the Government will reintroduce guidance to work from home wherever possible in a bid to tackle the Omicron variant. You will now need to review your COVID-19 Risk Assessment and decide what reasonable steps you need to take to protect your employees and others from the latest strain, including the reintroduction of working from home.

As part of reviewing your risk assessment, you should consider:

  • How you are going to facilitate homeworking, and for those employees who are unable to work from home, how are you going to protect them.
  • What work activity or situations might cause transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Think about who could be at risk – this could include employees, visitors, contractors and delivery drivers.

After you have updated your risk assessment, you must communicate with your employees about the measures you are updating. They can provide valuable information on how you could reduce risks.

Lastly, ensure monitoring and supervision are in place to make sure the controls you have are working as expected.

Reducing contact for workers

There are measures you can consider to limit the number of people your employees are in contact with, for example using fixed teams or partnering so each person works with the same, consistent group.

UK government guidance on working safely provides further information and advice on these measures covering a range of different types of work.

Accessing precautions for working safely

Employers should ensure all workers, including those in higher-risk groups, are able to access all the protections that are necessary, for example during night shifts, when working remotely or working alone. This might include access to personal protective equipment (PPE) stocks or cleaning materials.

Have the rules on self-isolation changed?

The advice for people with coronavirus symptoms or who have a positive test result for coronavirus (for any variant) remains the same – you must stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days.

The Government has though updated rules around self-isolation for contacts, saying:

“As omicron spreads in the community, we will also introduce daily tests for contacts instead of isolation, so we keep people safe while minimising disruption to daily life,”

When do you not need to self-isolate?

If you live with or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, you will not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:

  • You’re fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine given by the NHS.
  • You’re under 18 years, 6 months old.
  • You’re taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial.
  • You’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

However, if you live with or have been in contact with someone who may have the Omicron variant of COVID-19 you will need to test yourself daily.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact a Spectra consultant.

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