23 June 2020
New rules for Wales were introduced from 1 June 2020. The new rules are:
- You can go outside to meet with people who live in another household, but you must only meet outside
- only meet with one household at a time
- stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
A number of measures reduce the spread of infection has been introduced, including:
- not entering other people’s households
- staying local, don’t travel more than 5 miles to visit people or exercise. You are allowed to travel further when visiting people on compassionate grounds
- pubs and restaurants remain closed
You can travel to and from work, but only where it is not reasonable practicable to work from home.
From 22 June, non-essential retail has been allowed to re-open. Other businesses able to operate include:
- Supermarkets and other food shops,
- Pharmacies and chemists, including non-dispensing chemists
- Storage and distribution facilities
- Food delivery and take away
Other businesses such as bars and restaurants must remain closed.
All reasonable measures should be taken to ensure that a distance of 2m is maintained between person on the premises and waiting to enter the premises.
The Welsh Government has now 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 working been throughout this outbreak, keeping the food and pharmaceutical supply chain moving, in very difficult circumstances.
If you work in non-food retail, or any other type of workplace that has been closed, your employer should have put clear processes in place to ensure your safety as you return to work. Before any workplace reopens, the employer should have done a full risk assessment and put in place proper social distancing and hygiene standards. If you have any concerns about your employer’s plans to reopen, please contact your workplace rep or local official if you need advice.
You may currently be ‘furloughed’ under the Job Retention Scheme. If you are put on furlough status, your pay may be reduced to 80% of your average earnings. Your employer can only claim if you were on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020, and they had notified HMRC of your employment by that date.
Following pressure from trade unions, the Government has extended the Job Retention Scheme from its previous deadline of June. It will now be available in its current form until the end of July. It will then continue to run from August until the end of October, with changes to make it more flexible. This will mean that companies will be able to bring workers back on a part-time basis and access the scheme to cover any unworked hours. The scheme will carry on paying 80% of workers’ wages, but the Government has said that they will be requiring employers to make a contribution to that 80% payment. Further information is available in the FAQs section of the Usdaw website
We continue to call on all employers to make up the difference between the 80% guaranteed by the Government and normal earnings.