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What does the extension of the lockdown in England mean for my business?


Guidance from DHF for businesses in the automated gate, garage door, door and door hardware industries

It is important to remember that lockdown allows limited exceptions, including going to work. This is allowed in cases where all the following conditions apply:

1. The work activity cannot reasonably be done from home

2. The work activity has not been ordered to cease

3. Travelling to work/site can be done in accordance with PHE (Public Health England) guidance

4. The work activity itself can be carried out in accordance with PHE guidance

Am I allowed to open my business?

The UK government fully accepts that, for many in manufacturing, distribution and construction, working requires travelling to a place of work. There is no restriction on manufacturing and there is acceptance of the need to keep supply chains moving, to protect the economy as much as possible. The construction industry’s contribution to supporting the UK economy has also received specific recognition from the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.

It is therefore our view that construction-related activities, including manufacturing, distributing, installing and maintaining construction products, can, in principle, continue during lockdown. (Note that the situation is different in Scotland).

What official guidance is available?

The PHE guidance on social distancing in the workplace should be taken into account when assessing whether the work activity can be carried out in accordance with the guidance.

Although social distancing is paramount, the guidance specifies how and when mitigation can be employed if social distancing cannot be fully achieved. There is specific guidance for manufacturing, for construction sites and for tradespeople working in homes. In the case of construction sites, reference is made to social distancing in vehicle cabs as well as on site; further detail is available from the Site Operating Procedures issued by the Construction Leadership Council.

Is anything likely to change?

Since construction-related activities were already allowed (in England), no relaxation here is necessary. The social distancing guidance is also unlikely to change significantly, since it is likely that we will have to live with coronavirus for some time.

As a consequence, we cannot look to government for solutions for our industry. Where work activities have been suspended, possibly due to fears about social distancing, members will need to consider whether changes can be made in order to achieve compliance. The alternative is acceptance of a prolonged period of shutdown. According to a joint statement between HSE, the TUC and the CBI, firms that can safely stay open and support livelihoods should not be forced to close by misunderstandings about government guidance.

Note - this guidance is to assist the business/individual, it does not form an official process.

All operators and operatives should update themselves with the current Government advice and NHS advice  and operate accordingly.

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