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Advice for Members

Last Updated: 6 April 2021

This page is related to current guidance in England. Please visit our pages on ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland for further information about the guidance that applies there.

Please note that the official advice is changing on a daily basis. This guidance from Usdaw should be used alongside public health information and official Government guidance.

How the rules will change on 12 April
Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change on 12 April.
The full Government Guidance on Coronavirus restrictions in England is available here and the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown is available here.
From 12 April, some of the key changes are as follows:
  • Non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • Personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • Outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • Most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • Some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • Indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • All childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number).
The Government guidance continues to advise people to minimise the amount they travel where possible.
Social Distancing
Government advice states that “You should stay 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) if you cannot stay 2 metres apart”.
The guidance should be followed at all times, including if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Face coverings
Government advice states thatYou must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops and places of worship, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law.”
Going to work
You should continue to work from home where you can but if you cannot work from home you should continue to travel to your workplace. Where people cannot work from home, employers should take steps to make sure their workplaces are COVID-19 secure and help employees avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk. Sector specific guidance to ensure workplaces are covid secure are available here.
If you are worried about going to work or you cannot work please speak to your Union Rep or official to get further advice on this.


All businesses in England are now able to sign up to the Government’s free COVID-19 workplace testing programme. Where employers are asking staff to take part, testing should be voluntary but encouraged and ideally should take place in the workplace especially in larger workplaces which allow on-site testing facilities to be established. Beyond workplace testing, the Government has also confirmed that from 9 April, everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing.
Please note that the Government advice states that “Anyone who tests positive using a lateral flow test will be expected to self-isolate along with their household. They can then order a second PCR Covid test, typically used for symptomatic cases, which will be sent off to a laboratory for analysis. If the confirmatory test comes back negative, their quarantine period is considered over immediately and they can resume normal life”.

Advice for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are no longer advised to shield. However, you should continue to follow the guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and are advised to take additional precautions to protect yourself.
If you live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable then you can continue to attend work if you are unable to work from home.
Members who are clinically extremely vulnerable and concerned about any risks in their workplaces should speak with their Union Rep or Official.
If you have been vaccinated against COVID-19
Even if members have been vaccinated, the Government advice is clear that “To help protect yourself and your friends, family, and community you should continue to follow all of the guidance”.
The guidance further stresses that while the vaccine may reduce the likihood of severe illness in most people, “like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so those who have received the vaccine should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection”.
On transmission, even if you have been vaccinated, you could still spread COVID-19 to others.
Meeting others for work
You can gather in larger groups or meet indoors where it is necessary for your work. This does not include social gatherings.

Childcare and Schools

For advice on childcare and schools, please click here.

Job Retention Scheme (JRS)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. From 1 July 2021, the level of grant will be reduced and employers will be asked to contribute towards the cost of furloughed employees’ wages. For more details on how the scheme is changing please click here.

Claims for furlough days in March 2021 must be made by 14 April 2021.
You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.

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.

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