Government Guidance

Covid-19 poses a serious health risk and the Government continues to urge everyone to remain cautious in order to protect both yourself and others.Plan B is currently being implemented in England in response to the risks posed by the Omicron variant, meaning:

  • Face coverings are required by law in most indoor settings
  • Office workers who can work from home should do so
  • Certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption

Testing:

If you have symptoms of Covid-19 you should self-isolate immediately. Those who receive a positive lateral flow test, and who are not claiming the Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP), will not be required to take a confirmatory PCR test. If you are claiming TTSP, you should arrange to have a PCR test as soon as possible, regardless of your vaccination status.

If you are fully vaccinated and identified as a household contact of someone with Covid-19, you are strongly advised to take a lateral flow test every day for seven days and report your test results online.

Anyone identified as a close contact with a negative lateral flow result is strongly advised to limit close contact with other people outside their household and to follow guidance on face coverings and working from home where possible.

You can order free packs of rapid lateral flow tests to be delivered to your home if you do not have Covid-19 symptoms.

The Government also advises you to take a rapid lateral flow test if it is expected that there will be a period of high risk that day, including spending time in crowded or enclosed spaces, or before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get Covid-19. 

Those identified as critical workers in England will be provided with free lateral flow tests by the Government. Critical workers are those who work in essential services, cannot work from home and are at risk of infecting each other – e.g. due to working together in an enclosed space.


Isolating:

If you are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 or have received a positive test result, whether via PCR test or LFD, you should stay at home and self-isolate immediately. If someone in your household has tested positive or has symptoms, it’s crucial that you follow the Government’s advice to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Those with Covid-19 in England can end their self-isolation after seven days, following two negative lateral flow tests taken 24 hours apart. The first lateral flow test should not be taken before the sixth day.

If you are self-isolating, you may be eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment or statutory sick pay.


NHS Test and Trace:

Visit the Government’s website for an overview of NHS Test and Trace, including what happens if you test positive for Covid-19 or have been identified as a close contact.

Though no longer legally required, businesses are still encouraged to continue collecting customer information for NHS Test and Trace, which aims to track the spread of the virus and isolate new infections. The Government has produced guidance for maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace, as well as a toolkit for employers to use.


Work from home:

Office workers who can work from home should do so. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go into work. The Government advises those who must continue to go into work to consider taking regular lateral flow tests.

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.


Required use of the NHS COVID Pass:

Certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or that they have an exemption.

The NHS COVID Pass can be accessed via the NHS App, the NHS website, or by calling 119 to request a letter.


Face coverings:

Face coverings are required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport.

The Government has released a list of settings in which a face covering will be required, and has noted that staff within these settings are required to wear face coverings when they are in a part that is open to the public. Staff may also wear face coverings when working in settings where face coverings are not required, and businesses are encouraged to support them in doing so.

You should continue to wear a face covering in other indoor places that are not listed above, which are crowded and enclosed and where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet.


Vaccinations:

The Covid-19 vaccine is an effective way to protect yourself and those around you against coronavirus. Book or manage your Covid-19 vaccination appointments via the NHS website.


International travel:

Prior to travelling internationally for work or leisure, check the foreign travel advice for all countries you will visit or travel through. You will also need to find a travel test provider before travelling as NHS tests cannot be used for this purpose – some countries will require proof of vaccination status either alongside or instead of a negative test result.

Fully vaccinated passengers arriving in England will be required to take a lateral flow test or PCR test within two days of arriving in England. Passengers who test positive on a rapid lateral flow test must take a PCR test. Fully vaccinated passengers do not need to self-isolate while awaiting test results. Read the Government’s travel guidance for more information.


Other resources:

As well as our Covid-19 Support Grid, you can find more advice and guidance about best practice on our Keep Business Moving page. Please email KBM@Birmingham-Chamber.com for more information or support relating to Covid-19.

The British Chambers of Commerce also provides detailed advice across all areas for businesses throughout Great Britain.


Workplace safety:

In light of the Omicron variant, the Government has updated its working safely guidance to keep workplaces safe from Covid-19.

Steps businesses should continue to take includes undertaking a risk assessment, introducing hygiene measures, and ensuring workplace spaces have adequate ventilation. Further information can be located on the Health and Safety Executive’s website or on the Government’s website.


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