Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that construction sites will be able to remain open over the course of England’s second national lockdown.
Addressing the nation on the 31st October, PM Boris Johnson stated that the construction sector could remain operating throughout the new lockdown, with restrictions in place from the 5th of November until the 2nd December. Johnson claimed:
“The virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers […] so now is the time to take action because there is no alternative. Workplaces should stay open for where people can’t work from home, for example in the construction and manufacturing sectors.”
This clarity on the matter comes as a refreshing change to the sector, after the initial announcement of the March lockdown earlier this year caused confusion with some over whether or not sites should stay open.
In addition to the go-ahead from the PM for construction sites to remain open and operating during this lockdown, Johnson also added that the job retention scheme will be extended until December this year. Johnson said:
“I’m under no illusions about how difficult this will be for businesses which have already had to endure such hardship this year and I am truly sorry for that. That’s why we are going to extend the furlough system through November […] we will not end it, we will extend furlough until December.”
The new restrictions for England’s new lockdown, implemented on the 5th November and remaining in place until the 2nd December, require people to remain in their homes unless for certain purposes, to not mix with households other than your own, and for certain businesses and venues to close.
Build UK stated the following on the matter:
“Construction and manufacturing should stay open across all four nations, which is testament to the industry’s response to the pandemic so far. Sites are advised to review their social distancing measures and remind the workforce of the importance of complying with the Site Operating Procedures ‐ Version 6 whilst on site, as well as the new restrictions off site to protect their family and colleagues.”
“Tradespeople can also continue to work in people’s homes as long as both the worker and household members have no symptoms of coronavirus. The Work Safe Safe Work Guide can be used to reassure householders.”
“Hotels can remain open to provide accommodation for workers. We are currently reviewing the implications for construction workers and please let us know if you have difficulty finding accommodation for workers working away from home.”
Build UK have also created an authorisation letter template. This template is for employers in construction to use should their workers be stopped when traveling to and from work, anywhere across the UK.