I’m sure at 8:30pm last night we were all tuned into the announcement made by Boris Johnson, announcing the new measures giving only four reasons to be able to leave your home.
One of these reasons was so you can travel to and from work where “absolutely necessary”. However, the line between absolutely necessary and not absolutely necessary seems to be blurred. With some self-declaring themselves necessary and opening up shop this morning.
Good news for our colleagues in the construction industry
At the minute construction sites remains open. People in the construction industry, of course, want to remain open and believe they can do so whilst keeping in line with the new social distancing guidelines.
Robert Jenrick, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, tweeted shortly after the prime minister’s television address to the nation on 23rd March: “Advice for the housing, construction & building maintenance industries: If you can work from home, do so. If you are working on site, you can continue to do so. But follow Public Health England guidance on social distancing.”
For PM’s in the industry the majority of their work could be done from home, for others, the work will be on-site. Site workers will be encouraged to follow particular procedures like:
- Get to site on your own (not on public transport preferably)
- Stay two metres away from everyone
- Take your own lunch
Others aren’t so convinced that construction workers remain “key”
Sadiq Khan has quickly come out to express his frustration with the new guidelines saying the definition of key workers is too broad. “I’ve expressed my concerns to the prime minister directly…. In my view, the only construction workers that should be working are those that we need for safety. I think that this is a time to understand the scale of the challenge we are facing.”
The mayor of London is set to be on the verge of closing down construction sites.
Nicola Sturgeon has also backed this opinion “there are still too many people across the country who are being expected to or expecting to go to work as normal”.
“This morning I was specifically asked on the radio about building sites and hair salons, and my advice would be to close,” she said. “I know this is a difficult situation for businesses and I know difficult judgements are having to be made.”
We will have to see over the coming days what happens in the construction industry space.
The National Federation of Builders are concerned that rebuilding a pipeline of workers after closing could take months and therefore won’t stop working until they absolutely have to.
So for clarity, the official line from the government is: We want to keep construction working – at home preferably, but on site if that is where the work is. Get to site on your own (not on public transport preferably), stay two metres away from everyone, take your own lunch, and sing Happy Birthday lots and lots with soap and water.
You can view the full guidelines here>>>