Covid-19 guidance

Bodyshops, suppliers exempt from coronavirus closure order

The UK government has today (25 March) added detailed clarification to its guidance on businesses which are exceptions to the coronavirus closure order announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday and which came into effect on Tuesday.

Collision repair bodyshops and garages can remain open, while car dealership showrooms must close. Storage and distribution facilities for parts, paint, tools and consumables, including delivery drop-off points, can remain open. Click for full details of the bodyshop and distribution facilities exemption.

Following questions posed during a webinar hosted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on Tuesday, the government has advised that manufacturing businesses also can remain open.

Furthermore, as set out in the section on staying at home, people can travel to and from work, but only where the work they do cannot be done from home. Click the link for the government’s guidance on staying at home and away from others.

With the exception of the organisations covered above in the section on closing non-essential shops and public spaces, the government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed, it has said it is “important for business to carry on”.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front-line services.

If you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work, provided you are well and neither you nor any of your household are showing symptoms and self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the government’s chief medical officer.

Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a two-metre distance from others and washing their hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

The government has set out guidance on which organisations this requirement covers (see links above). Advice for employees of these organisations on employment and financial support is available on the government coronavirus advice page.

At all times, workers should follow the guidance on self-isolation if they or anyone in their household shows symptoms.