Alongside the latest Government and industry-specific guidance in response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, we have complied some key travel, security, legal guidance along with a selection of tips and online resources to help your business adapt and respond to the ever-changing situation.
The guidance is constantly being updated and we advise you to check the following page regularly: Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do
Further guidance is outlined here:
- Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do
- Sector guidance for social distancing in the workplace
New Government guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of coronavirus has been published including specific action cards for manufacturers.
Workplace testing programme expands to offer free rapid home testing
In the next major push for the Government’s workplace testing programme, all employers will now be able to offer their employees free, rapid and regular testing that can be taken at home. Businesses must register interest by 12 April to access free tests. Businesses across the country will be eligible to order the home test kits online to distribute to their employees. Staff will then complete the home test in the normal way, before reporting their results to the NHS using the provided gov.uk address. Find out more
Two Lateral Flow Tests a week are being made available to everyone in England, including those without symptoms from 9 April 2021 and tests can be ordered to homes online now. Changes will be made to the NHS app to allow individuals to order tests and enter results.
A new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service is also launching which will provide an additional route to regular testing. People aged over 18 without symptoms will be able to visit a participating local pharmacy and collect a box of 7 rapid tests to use twice a week at home.
Bespoke testing regime unveiled for exempt international arrivals
Aerospace engineers are on the list of professions for the bespoke testing scheme for international arrivals into England. Regular negative tests required compared to a long period of quarantine (every 2 – 3 days). Additionally, From 6 April, new testing requirements will be introduced for hauliers entering England from abroad, to help reduce the risk of new COVID-19 variants entering the UK. All hauliers staying in the country for longer than two days will be required to take a lateral flow test before the end of day two. Find out more
The Government has launched a NHS test and trace service for employers, businesses and workers in England.
The test and trace service forms a central part of the government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery strategy by:
- providing testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus to find out if they have the virus
- getting in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had
- alerting those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus
Anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus should continue to self-isolate for seven days, and the rest of their household for 14 days as before, but they must now also arrange a test as part of the test and trace response.
Information about testing for coronavirus and what to do if you’re contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service can be found here.
This guidance outlines how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic. It is designed to help employers understand their legal obligations, in terms of workers who: continue to work or have been placed on furlough as part of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
The UK Government, in consultation with industry, has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The guidance covers a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep employees safe.
Return to the Office
The Government has laid out its 4-step roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions. Offices and contact centres can open under all steps if they’re COVID-secure. Office workers should continue to work from home where they can.
Employers should consider whether home working is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties, or those with a particularly challenging home working environment.
NHS Test & Trace App
The official NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app for England and Wales is the fastest way of knowing when you’re at risk from coronavirus (COVID-19). The quicker you know, the quicker you can alert your loved ones, and your community. The more of us that use it, the better we can control coronavirus. Download the app and find out more
Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.
Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses.
Guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments
Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments.
Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.
Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.
QR code posters for offices are only needed where there is a high number of external visitors or where workers cannot easily be identified or notified. Workplace canteens and cafes must have an NHS QR code poster if they are accessible to the public.
You can download a poster to display in your workplace to show you have followed the guidance.
Travel guidance and events
Current travel guidance and event updates
With the situation and Government advice constantly evolving, we ask all members to regularly check our Events Listings page to check the latest status on all ADS events. Where changes and postponements have been incurred, these will be updated online and ADS members who have been booked to either attend or exhibit at the event will be notified by our Events Team. Unless shown or notified, all other events are currently due to take place as scheduled.
Moving forward our meetings, committees and events will be held remotely utilising MS Teams. For existing meetings or events, the facilitator will be in contact to confirm if the meeting is going ahead, and if so to provide details of how to connect.
All UK travel corridors temporarily suspended to protect against new international variants. Find out more
Travel between Wales and the rest of the UK will be allowed from the 12th of April.
It is hoped that if case rates remain low, restrictions will be eased across Wales, aiming to move fully to alert level three by 17 May.
From Apr 26, travel within all of mainland Scotland will be allowed however travel to the rest of the UK must have reasonable excuse such as work or childcare.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice. Please continue to check FCO travel advice for the latest updates.
Industry specific Guidance
Guidance for the Defence industry
Defence personnel/suppliers are specifically referenced as being exempt from the restrictions where work is necessary in support of the delivery of essential defence activities. However, Ministerial direction is that exemptions should be used sparingly and only in exceptional circumstances where there would be a clear impact to critical Defence activities.
The default position is that personnel moving across the border for any Defence activity, including contractors’ personnel, are not automatically exempt from this legislation. For contractors seeking an exemption, they will need to approach their usual point of contact who will also be able to provide further advice.
Suppliers will to undertake action to identify any possible mitigation activity (such as scrutinising the resource required) prior to seeking an exemption, and only suppliers with a clear and justifiable request will be granted one.
Any approvals will be granted at senior level within the MOD, and recorded in a central database for audit and review purposes. Suppliers will also be required to provide the detail necessary to support this reporting.
Workers and workplace guidance
The MOD Permanent Secretary Sir Steven Lovegrove has written to the defence industry to outline how the Department is applying the new COVID-19 key workers guidance across the relevant programmes and projects the Department runs, and how applies to defence contractors working to support those activities.
In support of this top-level guidance, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) teams have also written to companies to share programme specific information which will be flowed down supply chains where relevant. MOD is working with ADS to share information about critical programmes and key workers in defence.
This guidance has been welcomed by ADS members and where members have not yet been contacted, they should contact their customer and ask whether their work has been categorised as a critical programme by the MOD.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has interpreted the Cabinet Office Public Procurement Notices (PPN) for use by MOD teams. These DPPNs (Defence PPN) now supersede the Cabinet Office Guidance and will be implemented across defence contracts. The MOD has also released a policy document outlining how the furloughing and interim payment policies will be treated by the MOD.
Guidance for manufacturers and industry
Manufacturing and processing businesses
The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng has written to those in the manufacturing industry and its supply chain to thank them for their success in continuing to manufacture, supply and export goods, including goods essential to our critical national infrastructure, despite the challenges of COVID-19, and emphasise that the industry can and should continue to work during the current period of restrictions, and follow government guidance on safe working. Find out more
Manufacturing plays an important role in the economy. It can continue if done in accordance with the social distancing guidelines wherever possible.
Where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between staff.
If you decide the work should continue, staff should work side by side or facing away from each other rather than face-to-face if possible.
You should increase the frequency of cleaning procedures, pausing production in the day if necessary for cleaning staff to wipe down workstations with disinfectant.
You should assign staff to the same shift teams to limit social interaction.
You should not allow staff to congregate in break times; you should consider arrangements such as staggered break times so that staff can continue to practice social distancing when taking breaks.
You should communicate to all staff that they should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more at the beginning and end of every break, when they arrive at work and before they leave. To help with this, you should consider adding additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities, providing soap, water and/or hand sanitiser.
When entering and leaving, you should ensure your workforce stays 2 metres apart as much as possible. To protect your staff, you should remind colleagues daily to only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.
Going to work
The Government has stated people can travel to and from work, but only where the work they do absolutely cannot be done from home.
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.
Where this is not possible, it is permissible to continue going to work, providing employers ensure employees are able to follow Government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene.
Tips for keeping manufacturing sites open
Use of facemasks in the workplace
The guidance for employees, employers and businesses has been updated with guidance on use of face masks in the community. PHE recommends that employers should ensure that:
- spaces in the workplace are optimised to allow social distancing to occur, wherever possible
- signs are visible in the workplace reminding employees not to attend work if they have a fever or cough and to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- employees are provided with hand sanitiser for frequent use and regular breaks to allow them to wash their hands for 20 seconds.
Ensure Strict Cleaning Routines
The best way to protect yourself and your staff from the coronavirus is making sure that the environments you operate in are clean and employees are following healthy and safety guidance.
- Staff need to be responsible for their own hygiene and clean their hands each time they are entering and exiting the facility, with the hand washing technique guidance made clearly visible.
- If it is not possible to have a hand wash station, hand sanitiser should be provided.
- Ensure frequently used objects and surfaces are cleaned regularly and especially after use.
- If you use an external cleaning company, work with them to ensure the same people visit your site to lower the chance of the disease spreading.
- Protective shoe covers or a change of shoes for operating on the production floor may be advisable as well as protective clothes especially if using public transport to get to work.
- Hold checks throughout the day to make sure that proper procedure is being followed.
- Pay extra attention when cleaning to frequently used areas such as breakrooms and bathrooms.
- Ensure parts of your machines that are frequently touched are regularly cleaned, especially between shift changeovers.
- Appoint someone in the management team to make sure cleaning practices are being carried out.
- Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
Increase Changeover Times to Reduce Staff Interaction
By limiting interactions between staff, especially those on different shifts, you can help reduce the chances of the virus spreading between people.
- Stagger changeover times between shifts as much as possible which will also allow for additional cleaning time as well as minimising potential spread between staff.
- Assign staff to the same shift teams and avoid swapping with others which will help protect teams.
- Limit social interactions to essential only, applying the two-metre rule when interacting if possible.
- Discourage staff from entering parts of your site unless essential to their role.
- Rotate lunch and break times to avoid large gatherings and encourage staff to bring their own in.
Provide Clear Communication to Staff and Visitors
It is extremely important to communicate with staff as much as possible and keep them informed of the Government guidance is it develops as well as the protocols the company are putting in place. Although minimising visitors is advisable, some visits may be unavoidable, and guidance must be accessible to all on site.
- Consider printing guidance posters and making them visible across your facilities.
- Review your policies to ensure that any workers who are feeling symptoms know to stay at home and to keep you informed.
- Ensure employees know the latest guidance and that you communicate major decisions with them as soon as reasonably possible.
- Minimise visitors from your facilities and only allow those who absolutely need to come to your facilities enter the premises.
- Provide reception staff with appropriate cleaning supplies and guidance as they are most likely to interact with the majority of people coming in and out of the site.
- Ensure clear requests to clean hands are clearly displayed in key areas.
If a worker does become ill and you need to clean your facilities then it is important to do it as correctly to avoid cross contamination. Full decontamination procedures can be found at on gov.uk
Security tips and guidance
Cyber Security – Staying safe online
Working from home
Considering Government advice to work from home wherever possible, there has been a huge rise in home working by companies and their employees, which will be a new experience for many. Even if the possibility of home working has been on offer for some time, it is likely that for many companies it is happening at a much greater scale.
Criminals are adapting to the rise of home working and there has been a rise in phishing, malware and other forms of cyber-attacks and fraud, seeking to exploit coronavirus. Companies should take the following actions during this time:
- Support your colleagues in the transition to home working and ensure they are cyber aware;
- Reduce the risk of cyber-attacks through appropriate security measures;
- Manage your data protection arrangements.
To help with this, there are several online resources you should look at:
- Advice on how to protect yourself and your business from fraud and cyber crime
- National Cyber Security Centre’s guidance on home working
- National Cyber Security Centre’s 10 steps to cyber security
- National Cyber Security Centre’s Advisory: COVID-19 exploited by malicious cyber actors
- Cleveland Police’s top four cyber-crime tips in relation to coronavirus
If you receive a suspicious phishing email, whether COVID-19 related or otherwise, please report these to the National Cyber Security Centre’s new Suspicious Email Reporting Service here or via email to email@example.com
Personnel security during a pandemic
CPNI have produced high level guidance on good personnel security practices during the impact of a pandemic, such as the COVID-19 virus, where usual security practices are either suspended or changed to reflect different working patterns, either on a temporary or permanent basis. Highlights include:
- Always conduct a personnel risk assessment before proportionately adjusting security policies and procedures to accommodate new working practices both for remote workers and on site.
- Communicate clearly any changes to security policies and procedures to the whole workforce.
- Provide support and guidance to the workforce, especially those working remotely, covering both technical and wellbeing issues.
- Remind the workforce of the continued security threat during this period.
Other tips and resources
Online resources for businesses and employers
If you are looking for business support or guidance, your local Growth Hub can assist you. The network of 38 Growth Hubs are local public/private sector partnerships led by the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). They join up national and local business support so it is easy for businesses to find the help they need. Businesses can also call the Business Support Helpline on 0800 998 1098 to speak to a business support advisor (9.00am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday).
Other useful information includes:
- You can now access a free online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are distributing daily Coronavirus Business Bulletins. View previous bulletins or sign-up here
- Check what you need to do about Statutory Sick Pay
- ACAS has published information for employees and employers, including information on simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff, sick pay and absence from work
- Find out what to do for different businesses and organisations
Businesses should check for daily updates at GOV.UK and subscribe to receive email alerts to ensure they are acting on the most up to date information.
ADS members and legal experts Brodies LLP have created their own dedicated COVID-19 hub providing informed and pragmatic thought and commentary on the key issues, considering all the latest Government updates. These include:
Tips for communicating with employees
With advice and guidance in relation to COVID-19 constantly evolving, both clear and effective internal communication with your employees is critical. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) have shared the following advice for communicating with employees at times of crisis, specifically COVID-19:
- People will look to you for trusted information and guidance. They will want information regularly (with timings clearly communicated) – without this they will fill in the blanks and that will lead to speculation and rumours. Use trusted sources to make your decisions, such as NHS, WHO and Public Health England.
- It is ok to not know the answer to everything but you do need a plan – tell people what you are doing, who is involved and where they can ask questions. You can set up a dedicated email address or a group on one of your internal social networks if you feel it is needed.
- Make sure everyone knows how, where and when future updates will be provided. It is important that there is a single source of news and updates for the organisation and that everyone knows what this is. Have a clear channel for the communication so that people know where to get correct, accurate and up to date details. Make sure the message is consistent and if you’re making changes to the guidance, make it clear where those changes are.
- Video messages are a great way to communicate messages from your CEO. At times of uncertainty employees like to see updates directly from leaders, it can help bring reassurance and clarity on the organisations approach.
- This isn’t the time to introduce new communication tools or platforms – stick to what people already know and use. Remember traditional channels can be effective such as posters and leaflets, especially in a large operational workforce with hard to reach workers.
- As part of your Business Continuity Plan, work closely and meet regularly with a core group of managers from across the business ensuring that all decisions are communicated promptly to staff. This should include clarifying working from home policies and plans you have in place, including for those who need to stay at home (self-isolate). A precedent will be set with the first decision so this needs to be a decision that can scale.
Tips for working from home
- Maintain a sense of routine
Especially in the morning, although this new routine may be different to your usual working day as there is no commute, it is important that you have regular working hours and a schedule that you are able to stick to. Avoid the temptation to work in pyjamas, by getting up at a normal time, washing and getting changed you will improve your state of mind and psychologically prepare for a day of work
- Create a daily catch up call with your team/line manager and commit to what actions you’ll be completing before the end of the day
This is a good way of giving you a sense of purpose for the day and helping each other manage workloads. Ensure you review the previous day what was committed to and what was completed, if a task was not completed, confirm why it wasn’t completed and what hindered you.
- Enjoy your Flexibility
Take a break by going for a walk, or a bike ride. As your work schedule can be more flexible working from home, make sure you set some time a side to get out the house (if not self-isolating). Ensure you take regular breaks away from your screen.
- Make a Group Chat with your colleagues
This is a good way of reducing email traffic and keep up morale by checking in with your co-workers. Ensure you do not go the whole day without speaking to anyone, pick up the phone and call someone to ensure you do not feel isolated.
- Communicate, and don’t hesitate to ask for what you need
Even more than you think is necessarily – make your colleagues aware of your movements and just general check in with colleagues. No one wants to feel like they suddenly don’t have a team or don’t have support. It is also acceptable to advise that things are not ‘business as usual’ if you have a dog that is barking or if your child needs attention whilst on a conference call.
- Designate a workspace
Even if it’s just half of a table, it is important for your wellbeing to be able to separate out work and home. Working from home does not mean working from anywhere around the house. Having a designated space will get you into a productive frame of mind, and similarly once your workday is over, avoid that designated workspace to be able to relax.
Tips for conducting virtual meetings
Team Defence Information (TDI) have published a best practice guide for running virtual meetings including virtual meeting roles, meeting setup, meeting practices for general meetings, workshops and conferences and post meeting actions. Find out more here