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Q&A: What does social distancing mean for businesses?

Q&A: What does social distancing mean for businesses?

Monday 23 March 2020

Q&A: What does social distancing mean for businesses?


As businesses are having to change day-to-day practices to ensure 'front and back of house' operations keep their customers apart, the Government has issued some guidance.

Social distancing - which means limiting contact with people outside of household - was extended to the whole population on Friday following the advice of the Medical Officer of Health.

The Government described the move as crucial to prevent corona virus from spreading within the island.

They have issued the following advice to local businesses, recognising that some might not be able to accommodate social distancing.

Businesses need to consider the protection of staff and their families as well as customers and their families through social distancing at all times. The Government said the availability of food, medicine, fuel and similar essential commodities will remain critical to society.  

Here is a short Q&A to answer potential concerns businesses might have.

General

Should all my staff who are able to work from home be doing so?

Under the current social distancing advice, all workers who can work from home should now be doing so. 

 

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Pictured: All workers who can work from home should now be doing so.

Is it safe to handle cash / cards? 

You are recommended to take contactless card / smartphone payments where possible and deal with cash as little as possible.

How many staff should be in my office/building, if we cannot work from home?

Firstly, you should assess if the work is essential. If so, you should maintain the principles of social distancing (ensuring everyone can remain at least 1 metre apart at all times) and introduce additional hygiene measures, such as making hand sanitiser available and increased surface cleaning. Any members of staff who have flu-like symptoms should not be in work.

Is there financial support for me?

The Government announced £180m worth of emergency support for businesses to tackle cashflow difficulties presented by the outbreak of covid-19.

This includes proposals to back up banks giving new loans to businesses and creating a ‘Special Situations’ fund for bigger businesses – each with £50million worth of equity.

On Friday, they announced the creation of the Coronavirus Payroll Co-funding Scheme which will provide six weeks of co-funded payrolls between sector-specific employers and the government, which will pay employers retrospectively.

Local businesses will be able to claim a weekly subsidy of £200 per employee.

Hospitality 

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Pictured: Kitchen staff can still prepare food for the public if staff remain one metre apart. 

Can kitchen staff keep on preparing food for the public? 

Yes, if the kitchen allows you to maintain a distance of at least 1 metre distance between staff at all times and follow the current hygiene advice.

Can serving staff give food to customers? 

Front of house teams should be able to serve food quickly without compromising the principles of social distancing.

Is it safe for us to deliver takeaways to our customers?

Yes, if your delivery people are able to maintain a distance of at least 1 metre between themselves and the customer and follow current hygiene advice. 

It is recommended that you ask for pre-payment when taking orders so that cash isn’t exchanged when the delivery is made.

My kitchen is small – how do I maintain safety?

You may need to review your staffing levels and production to ensure you can maintain a distance of at least 1 metre between your staff and your staff and customers. You must also follow current hygiene advice.

Construction 

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Pictured: Construction workers must be able to maintain a distance of one metre between all staff, contractors and clients.

How do I know how many people I can have on a job/site? 

This will be determined by you being able to maintain a distance of least 1 metre between all staff, contractors and clients. Current hygiene advice must be followed at all times. 

Sport

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Pictured: Gyms can remain open if they follow current hygiene advice.

Can I still run my fitness club / gym business? 

If you choose to remain open, you must ensure that customers and staff are able to maintain a distance of at least 1 metre and follow current hygiene advice.

Can I do personal training outside? 

If you choose to continue with your personal training, you must ensure that you and your clients maintain a distance of at least one metre and follow current hygiene advice. 

Domestic services

Can I still work for my clients/clean my client’s house?

If you choose to continue visiting a client’s house, you must ensure that you and your clients are able to maintain a distance of at least 1 metre and follow current hygiene advice.

Essential services

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Pictured: Essential workers are recommended to only see patients who require urgent care

Can I continue to see my patients (dentist / nurse / hygienist / chiropodist / chiropractor / physiotherapist)?

Due to the current advice on social distancing, we recommend that you should only see patients who need urgent care and do not have any flu-like symptoms. 

Can I continue to provide services to my customers (tradespeople - plumber / electrician / gas technician)?

Due to the current advice on social distancing, we recommend that only emergency repairs and replacements are conducted; you should only enter properties where people do not have any flu-like symptoms, and make sure you are able to maintain a distance of at least 1 metre. 

Essential retailers

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Pictured: Social distancing may mean a restricted number of customers in stores at one time.

I’m a food retailer – how do I keep my staff safe?

Your staff are essential workers, but wherever possible they should maintain a distance of at least 1 metre between themselves and other workers and customers.

Consider stocking shelves outside customer hours or at low peak hours

How do I manage customer flow? 

Due to the current advice on social distancing, you should look to maintain a distance of at least 1 metre between customers and between customers and your staff. This may mean restricted numbers of customers in your stores at one time.

You should also follow hygiene advice.

Non-essential retailers

Do I need to close? 

Due to the current social distancing advice, we’re recommending that islanders should only be making essential purchases, such as food, household essentials, fuel and, medicine. It is your decision whether to close or not.

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Pictured: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds.

These FAQs accompany the important hygiene measures recommended by the Medical Officer of Health. 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and frequently
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. Keep surfaces and touch points clean
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze

 

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