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Tier 4 Guidance and Implications for Businesses

As we are all aware with the implementation of Tier 4 restrictions, business owners, Directors and Managers, operating within a Tier 4 or employing staff from a Tier 4 area need to be aware of the new guidance and implications.

If your business is located in a Tier 4 area you must confirm if you are able to stay operational or open under the guidance issued, with particular regard to non-essential retail.  Our team have set out below the important areas to be aware of, as ever if you are in any doubt please call your lead HR and H&S consultant and we will provide the support and assistance your require, remember we are available to all clients via our emergency or out of hours number, if you don’t have this please contact your lead consultant or our reception who will confirm this number.

Prime Minister announces Tier 4: ‘Stay At Home’ Alert Level in response to new COVID variant:

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Tier 4: Stay at Home

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Local restriction tiers: what you need to know

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Full list of local restriction tiers by area

Here is the full list of local restriction tiers by area from 20 December. We recommend all business owners read this, even if you are not located in a tier 4 as your staff may live in a T4 or your services may need to be delivered in a T4 area.

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But was does this mean? Here are some common questions and Park City’s advice, based on the guidance from Government and our moral responsibilities under H&S legislation.

Should my business be open if I am located in a Tier 4 area?

1.  Should my business be open if I am located in a Tier 4 area?

Staff should only be in the workplace where there is no alternative. Making the tough decisions are what is needed to help contain the coronavirus. As restrictions have changed consider the COVID arrangements and if the business should be open. If you remain open in a T4 area ensure that your Covid RA are well defined and issued to all staff. Re-visit your staff bubbles and enforce them as any outbreak in a T4 area is likely to be significant and the prospect of losing all staff to self-isolation is real. Finally we would advise that the HSE will continue to make spot visits to check on Covid secure arrangements.

Businesses and venues which must close

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The businesses required to close include:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods - these venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor riding centres, and indoor climbing walls
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services - for example for people who do not have it at home - and for click-and-collect services

Businesses and venues which can remain open

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods and services, including:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and pet shops
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor gym, pools, sports courts and facilities
  • golf courses
  • archery/driving/shooting ranges (outdoors)
  • outdoor riding centres
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

Or otherwise closed businesses that are open under exemptions such as:

  • education and training - for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
  • hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • to provide medical treatment
  • for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • for the purposes of film and TV filming

 

2.  If my staff live in Tier4 area can they travel to work in another Tier area, 1,2 or 3?

Individuals should minimise travelling where possible. This includes only travelling to your normal place of work as laid out in the guidance. The latest strain of coronavirus identified has an higher transmission risk and to reduce the chance of spreading movements should be restricted where possible.

You must stay at home and not leave your Tier 4 area, other than for legally permitted reasons such as:

  • travel to work where you cannot work from home
  • travel to education and for caring responsibilities
  • visit (including staying overnight with) those in your support bubble - or your childcare bubble for childcare
  • attend hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health

 

3.  Can I travel to a Tier 4 area to carry our work at a clients address or a domestic address?

Priority should be to avoid travel into tier 4 zones where possible. Is the work essential? Can it wait or does it have a critical impact?

You can leave home for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes).

You should not travel into a Tier 4 area from another part of the UK, other than for reasons such as:

  • travel to work where you cannot work from home
  • travel to education and for caring responsibilities
  • to visit (including staying overnight with) those in your support bubble - or your childcare bubble for childcare
  • to attend hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health

4. If I am located in Tier 4 can my staff use public transport to get to work?

You should continue to practise safe behaviours on public transport:

  • plan ahead, check for disruption before you leave, and avoid the busiest routes, as well as busy times
  • avoid making unnecessary stops during your journey
  • avoid sharing a car with people not in your household
  • keep your distance from other people when you travel, where possible
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly

5. If my staff are restricted in terms of traveling to work due to the Tier 4, do I need to pay them still?

If your employees are unable to work from home and are unable to attend work due to the Tier they are in, then they are not entitled to pay, however, consideration should be made to place them on the Governments Job Retention Scheme (Furlough). If they cannot attend work due to the Coronavirus (they have the virus), they are entitled to SSP from day one as a minimum.

There are many other questions that our team are already managing, please call your lead consultant if you are in any doubt about the guidance or what to do in your individual circumstance.

Be safe

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