Last Updated: 12 November 2020
As of Monday 9 November, the National ‘Firebreak’ Lockdown in Wales has been lifted. People can now travel anywhere within Wales and two households can again form a bubble. All pupils can go back to school and non-essential retail and hospitality has been allowed to re-open.
Wales is now subject to National Rules on social distancing and travel, to help stop the spread of the virus.
- Stay out of each other’s homes, except in very limited circumstances (or if you are part of a bubble).
- Limit the times you leave your home, and the distance you travel.
- When you do leave home, please try and be restrained in how many different people you see. It is better to see the same one or two people regularly than to see lots of different people occasionally.
- Maintain social distancing, indoors and outdoors.
- Meet people outdoors rather than indoors where possible, even in circumstances where the law allows you to meet indoors.
- Work from home if you can.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Self-isolate if you show symptoms of Coronavirus.
There are also laws put in place by the Welsh Government to make sure people do not choose to take unnecessary risks that are also still in place. These still need to be followed. The main requirements are that:
- Other than in very limited circumstances, people must not enter each other’s homes or gardens.
- When you meet people you don’t live with away from your home, in most circumstances, the absolute maximum number of people meeting should be four (not including any children aged under 11).
- Face coverings must still be worn in indoor public places, and
- You must self-isolate when you are told to do so by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect.
Under the new rules, travel with Wales is permitted, but travel outside of Wales is still not advised, except in certain circumstances. Work is a permitted reason to travel outside of Wales under the current rules, along with caring responsibilities.
Full details of the Government guidance on the rules in Wales are available on the Welsh Government website.
Working in Retail
The Welsh Government has produced detailed guidance for retailers on safe operating in Wales. This guidance has been produced in consultation with Usdaw and the Welsh Retail Consortium and is available here.
As part of the guidance, retailers must take all reasonable measures to ensure:
- that a distance of 2m is maintained between any persons on the premises (except between two members of the same household, or a carer and the person assisted by the carer),
- that persons are only admitted to the business premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance, and
- that a distance of 2m is maintained between persons waiting to enter the business premises (except between two members of the same household, or a carer and the person assisted by the carer).
In all workplaces that are operating, employers are expected to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their employees. Reasonable measures are likely to include the following:
- Reducing the number of people working on the premises at any one time – increasing the space between people by reducing the total number of people in attendance.
- Increasing space between staff – for example on a production line leaving 2m gaps between people and indicating spacing with markings.
- Consider appropriate provision of rest space – is there a congregation of workers at a certain time? Could additional space be provided, or breaks staggered.
- Altering tasks undertaken – making adjustments to the way that work is done, to reduce contact.
- Stagger shifts to minimise people on site and to reduce congestion at the point of shift changes.
- Carrying a passenger in the back seat rather than the front seat of a taxi would be a reasonable measure.
The key purpose of the regulations is to minimise the risk of transmission of Coronavirus. Where contact or closer working is required, it is important that other measures are considered, for example:
- Minimising the level of interaction.
- Physical barriers.
- Improved hygiene and reminders about the importance of hygiene.
- Washing hands well for 20 seconds with soap after close contact.
- Ensuring those with symptoms are not present on the premises
Most Usdaw members have been working been throughout this outbreak, keeping the food and pharmaceutical supply chain moving, in very difficult circumstances.
Job Retention Scheme (Furlough)
The Job Retention Scheme has been extended to March 2021.
If you are unable to work due to the latest restrictions you may still be ‘furloughed’ under the Job Retention Scheme for some or all of your normal hours. If you are on furlough status, your pay for any unworked hours may be reduced to 80% of your average earnings.
To be eligible for the scheme, you must have been employed and paid through PAYE before 30 October 2020.
Companies can furlough workers on a part-time basis and access the scheme to cover any unworked hours. The scheme will carry on paying 80% of workers’ wages, with the Government paying the full 80% of wages, and employers paying pension and national insurance contributions. Employers can choose to top-up this payment.
The contributions employers will need to make to the scheme will be reviewed in January, but workers will always receive a minimum of 80% of their pay.
You must not do any work for your employer for any hours or periods where you are furloughed, Speak to your Union Rep or official if you need any further advice on this.
Usdaw can help
If you are a member of Usdaw and you require any support because you are being placed on furlough, or if you are returning to work following a period of furlough, or if you have any concerns arising out of the latest lockdown restrictions please contact Usdaw as soon as possible.
If you are not a member of Usdaw, please consider joining us