Cleaners and Nannies to Return to Work
- UK Coronavirus Timeline
- What is COVID-19?
- What Are The Symptoms?
- What Should You Do if You Have Symptoms?
- How to Protect Yourself Against Coronavirus
- What is Social Distancing?
- Social Distancing in The Workplace
- Working as a Cleaner
- Working as a Nanny
- Working in Construction
- Relaxing the Coronavirus Restrictions
UK Coronavirus Timeline
Since its emergence in Wuhan, China the previously unknown coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic, causing thousands to die and shutting down cities in countries across the world. Globally, the total number of confirmed cases has reached over 3,834,000 with over 269,000 deaths recorded.
It is now believed that many countries have experienced the worst of the virus, also known as the peak, and lockdown restrictions are starting to be eased as the daily recorded cases and deaths begin to decline. Countries such as Italy, Germany and Spain have recently relaxed some of their stricter lockdown measures and it looks as though the United Kingdom is on track to follow in their footsteps.
The Prime Minister has, however, warned that the country will need to gradually ease the measures and carefully monitor any effect that this has on the number of cases within the country. Any spike in confirmed infections when restrictions are lifted could mean that the country will risk a second wave of infection and must be put back into stricter lockdown rules to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.
The United Kingdom has been in lockdown for over six weeks now with many cleaners, nannies and caregivers being unable to work in people’s homes. On the evening of Sunday 10th May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will give an announcement to the nation to unveil his ‘roadmap’ to bring the UK out of lockdown and get people back to work.
Amongst some of the first people to return to work, it is expected that cleaners and nannies can return to work first, alongside construction workers and those working in manufacturing. Although there is still some reservation and even once Boris Johnson gives the go-ahead for cleaners and nannies to return to work, it is still expected to take a while for it to come into effect. The decision to return to work is a personal one and depends upon different circumstances for each person. The decision should be made between the employer and employee when both parties feel ready to return, taking into account the health status of all involved parties.
Before returning to work as a cleaner or a nanny, both the employer and employees should be aware of the facts surrounding coronavirus and how it is spread. You should also familiarise yourself with the government guidance and advice from Public Health England, to ensure that you are taking all of the necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus. To establish whether it is safe for you to return to work you may also want to have a conversation with your employer to accurately assess the risks involved.
This could include offering reassurances that both households are practising social distancing measures and telling each other about any situations where you may be exposed to the virus. For example, if you are providing childcare for a frontline worker who is continually exposed to the virus this should be discussed first so that you can work out how to limit the risk of spread and infection.
Before returning to work as a cleaner or a nanny, you should also establish with your employer the type of protective equipment that will be issued to you so that you can carry out your work safely. It is usually down to the employer to provide equipment such as hand sanitiser, masks, gloves and soap for employees to use.
UK Coronavirus Timeline
Although only a relatively short amount of time has passed since the coronavirus was first confirmed in China, a lot of events have taken place around the world during this period of around 100 days. Our timeline features some of the key events in the evolution of the Coronavirus crisis.
The virus outbreak starts in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It is believed to have originated at a food market selling live animals.
Authorities are monitoring the situation in Wuhan closely as it begins to worsen. All passengers on flights coming into Heathrow airport from Wuhan are screened for Coronavirus.
Two Chinese nationals staying at a hotel in York positive for the virus, making this the UK’s first confirmed cases of coronavirus.
UK nationals are evacuated from Wuhan and are placed into a 14-day quarantine at a specialist hospital in the Wirral.
The UK government holds its first Cobra meeting on 24th January, but Matt Hancock says the threat to the UK is ‘low’.
On 30th January, the World Health Organization declares the coronavirus outbreak as a global emergency and a team is sent to work alongside Chinese scientists.
On 2nd February, the first death from coronavirus outside of China is recorded in the Philippines.
The first transmission of Covid-19 within the UK is also confirmed, and the government advises people to implement a range of voluntary measures such as social distancing and self-isolation or quarantine if any symptoms are exhibited.
On 10th February, Matt Hancock the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care introduces more powers for public health officials to quarantine people against their will if necessary under The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020. The regulations were introduced as a response to one of the patients quarantined in the Wirral hospital who was threatening to abscond from the unit. The regulations allow people to be detained for screening and testing, aiming to prevent the spread of a contagious disease.
On Sunday 23rd February, four British nationals evacuated from the cruise ship the Diamond Princess, test positive for coronavirus; bringing the total number of UK cases to 13. The Diamond Princess is the largest outbreak of the disease outside of mainland China so far with hundreds of people infected.
On February 28th the global stock markets record their worst week since the 2008 financial crash.
From March, the infection rate of Coronavirus increases, and the government ramps up its response. On Wednesday 4th March, the UK records the biggest one-day increase in infections so far with a further 34 cases bringing the total to 87. In other countries such as Italy, schools and universities are forced to close. The virus is now active in 81 countries, with more than 90,000 confirmed cases worldwide and a death toll of more than 3,000.
On 10th March, Nadine Dorries becomes the first British politician to test positive for the coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation officially declares a pandemic on Wednesday 11th March and Donald Trump, the US President bans travellers from all European countries apart from the UK. This ban is later extended to include the UK and Ireland on 14th March.
On 15th March, Matt Hancock warns that people aged 70 or over will be asked to self-isolate and stay within their homes for up to 12 weeks. Although this is still a voluntary action, for the time being, people are encouraged to follow government guidance. There is also an escalation of people panic-buying and the major supermarkets warn people to shop considerately as they try to keep control.
On 16th March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson advises residents of the UK to avoid non-essential travel and contact with others. He also suggests avoiding clubs, pubs, theatres where there are large gatherings of people, and working from home if possible. Boris Johnson also suggests that vulnerable groups of people, including pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions, should self-isolate. At this stage, these measures are all still voluntary and some businesses are angry that the Prime Minister has not enforced closures which could have protected them financially.
On 18th March, the government announces that most schools across England will be shut from Friday 20th March until further notice. Some schools will remain open but only to care for the children of key workers in line with government guidance.
On 20th March, Boris Johnson orders all pubs, cafes, restaurants, bars and gyms to close. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak also announces a furloughing scheme where the government will cover 80 percent of the wages of employees who are temporarily unable to work because of the crisis. He also announces £330bn in government-backed loans and more than £20bn in tax cuts and grants for small businesses affected by the crisis.
On 23rd March, Boris Johnson announces a national lockdown and gives the police powers to enforce the governments social distancing measures which will come into effect in three days. The lockdown restricts the movement of people with a small number of rules in place for leaving the house. The following reasons are provided:
- You may leave the house for basic necessities such as food and medicine, but these trips must be as limited as possible.
- One form of exercise per day is permitted such as a run, a walk or cycle. This exercise should be undertaken alone or with members of your household.
- Any medical need such as donating blood, or to avoid injury or illness. To escape the risk of harm to provide care or help to a vulnerable person.
- Travelling for work purposes but only where you cannot work from home.
As part of the lockdown measures, the government also advises that even when performing the activities listed above you should minimise the time spent outside of the home and ensure that you are at least two metres apart from anyone else unless they are a part of your household.
The government also asks around 1.5 million vulnerable people who are likely to need hospital treatment to stay at home to protect themselves against the virus.
On 25th March, The Coronavirus Act 2020 is passed giving further powers to the government and other authorities. Under this act, the Health Secretary has the power to prohibit events and gatherings to stop the transmission of the virus. Police, Immigration Officers and Health Officials are also now able to detain potentially infectious people.
Prince Charles also tests positive for the virus on 25th March.
On 26th March, the powers granted to the police in Boris Johnson’s announcement on 23rd March come into effect. This means that the police now have the power to enforce the lockdown restrictions and people who breach them face a fine of up to £30 for the first offence.
On 26th March the Clap for our Carers campaign also begins and becomes a weekly celebration of applause for front line NHS workers and other key workers.
Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock both test positive for COVID-19 and begin to self-isolate on 27th March.
On 2nd April, Matt Hancock sets a target of reaching 100,000 tests for coronavirus each day by the end of April. John Hopkins University in the US also announces that there are one million confirmed cases of coronavirus recorded worldwide.
On the same day, Chinese authorities in Wuhan start to lift lockdown measures allowing people out of their homes for the first time since the crisis started.
The Queen delivers a message to the nation on 5th April urging people to “remain united and resolute” saying of the coronavirus “we will overcome it”. The Prime Minister is also admitted to hospital for tests as his symptoms are still persistent.
On April 6th, Downing Street announces that Boris Johnson’s symptoms have worsened, and he has been moved to the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab steps in to cover for Boris Johnson while he recovers.
The number of people who have died in hospital in the UK with coronavirus has now reached above 5,000.
On 10th April, the worldwide death toll of coronavirus hits 100,000 according to figures released by John Hopkins University.
On 16th April, under Government guidance, the lockdown measures are extended for three more weeks. Before this, there have been concerns raised over the death count, not including those who have died in care homes, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council says that more than 3,200 fines for breaches of the lockdown laws have been issued between 27th March and 13th April.
On April 22nd, British MPs take part in Prime Minister’s Questions via video link for the first time in history. The Health Secretary also announces that the UK had reached the peak of the virus outbreak and reveals plans to introduce contact tracing at a large scale to begin easing lockdown restrictions.
Also, on April 22nd UK human Covid-19 vaccine trials start.
On 23rd April, the UK reaches its one-month mark since the start of the lockdown measures and the government announces that millions of people are eligible for a coronavirus test as the testing program is increased. This covers essential workers and their households.
On Friday 8th May official figures show that UK cases of coronavirus have increased to 206,715 with a confirmed death toll of 30, 615.
On 7th May, the Bank of England reports that the UK economy is due to shrink by 14% in 2020, but that it could recover within 18 months.
On Sunday 10th May Boris Johnson is set to make an announcement outlining a plan to begin easing the lockdown restrictions and returning to normal. It is expected that he will allow cleaners, nannies and other workers to return to work.
What is COVID-19?
Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by the recently discovered coronavirus. The disease affects the respiratory tract and causes mild to moderate respiratory illness. In some cases, this can further develop to cause more severe illness.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease within animals, however, seven of them have been able to jump across to infect humans. The current coronavirus Covid-19 is very similar to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, also known as SARS, that affected the world in 2002-2003. Covid-19 also bears a strong resemblance to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which first emerged in 2012.
With this said, Coronavirus is different from the other viruses largely because many of the symptoms it causes are mild and hard to detect. This can make it harder to control and manage because it is difficult to know who is infected, in some cases there may not be any symptoms at all.
What Are The Symptoms?
The World Health Organisation lists several main symptoms of the coronavirus to look out for. These symptoms include:
- A new or continuous dry cough
- A temperature
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath in more severe cases.
Other symptoms also include aches and pains, a stuffy or runny nose, a sore throat, and diarrhoea. Because the coronavirus is still so new, it is not known how long symptoms can last for or when they first appear. It is believed that symptoms start to show between 4-10 days after infection, but reports from sufferers suggest that the effects of the virus such as tiredness and a cough can last for weeks afterwards. It is always recommended to follow government guidance if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.
What Should You Do if You Have Symptoms?
If you have symptoms of Coronavirus, you must follow the government guidance given to minimise the risk of spreading the
virus. If you have a temperature or a cough you should self-isolate for seven days. If you live with others, the people you live with must isolate for 14 days too in case they have also caught the infection.
Take paracetamol and drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated if you suspect you are suffering from Covid-19. You should also get plenty of rest and try to eat healthy foods. If you are having difficulty breathing or managing the symptoms at home, do not visit your GP. Instead, you must call NHS 111 or visit the NHS 111 symptom checker for advice on the next steps to take.
If you live alone and are self-isolating you can ask neighbours, friends and family to help with essential food supplies and medicine. When self-isolating you should stay at home, do not go to work or other public places, avoid using public transport and taxi services, do not visit shops – instead, ask friends or family to go for you.
How to Protect Yourself Against Coronavirus
Following the official Government advice is essential to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus. The key advice is to practice social distancing and to frequently wash your hands for at least twenty seconds using soap and water.
Other tips for limiting the risk of coronavirus infection include:
- Carrying a hand sanitiser with you so that you can clean your hands if washing facilities are not available.
- Wearing a face mask whilst out in public – even a simple home-made cloth mask will protect against the virus by as much as 70%. A face mask can also reduce the risk of passing the virus to other people by as much as 90%.
- Always wash your hands before you eat or touch your face.
- Sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow instead of your hands. Remember to wash your hands immediately after sneezing or coughing.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue straight away.
- Wash your hands after you have been out.
- Regularly clean surfaces and anything you regularly touch such as devices, remote controls, door handles and light switches.
What is Social Distancing?
Limiting face-to-face contact with other people is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and so social distancing measures have been introduced in countries across the world. Social distancing is the practice of physically distancing yourself from others when you leave your home for essential purposes. To socially distance yourself effectively you should:
- Stay at least two metres (or 6 feet) away from other people.
- Avoid gathering in groups with people from outside of your household.
- Stay away from crowded places and mass gatherings.
- Cover your mouth or nose with a cloth face mask when around others outside of the home.
- Work from home where possible.
- Avoid using public transport if you can, including taxis or sharing cars with other people that are not part of your household.
- Avoid wearing gloves when you leave your house. Health officials have warned that wearing gloves can be more harmful than protective as it may prevent people from washing their hands are frequently as they should. Gloves can also further spread the virus if used to touch contaminated surfaces.
Social distancing is effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus because of the way the disease is transmitted. Transmission happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks and droplets from their mouth or nose are released into the air and land in the mouths or noses of other people.
The virus can also be spread by touching a surface or an object that has the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. For this reason, health officials recommend washing your hands for at least twenty seconds with soap and water as frequently as possible.
At the moment restrictions are still in place but the government has announced that it will introduce a plan to reopen to the economy and get people back to work when restrictions are lifted in the coming weeks.
Social Distancing in the Workplace
Working in an Office
In some cases, where the work is essential or cannot be completed from home, an office may need to stay open for its employees to work from. Most businesses have been asked to support homeworking wherever possible to protect the safety of staff members, but where workers are required to go into an office the following steps should be implemented:
- Workers should maintain a safe distance of at least two metres apart from other staff members, customers and members of the public.
- Good hygiene should be practised within the office such as regularly washing hands, sneezing or coughing into the crook of your elbow and regularly disinfecting surfaces.
- If a member of staff develops any coronavirus symptoms they should stay away from the office and self-isolate for the recommended 7 days.
Working in People’s Homes as a Tradesperson, Cleaner, or Nanny
If your role requires you to work in people’s homes as either a tradesperson, cleaner or a nanny you can continue to work providing you are well and do not have any symptoms of the virus. If you do have any symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, you should abstain from working in people’s homes and self-isolate for at least 7 days or until the symptoms go away. If a member of the household where you are going to work is showing symptoms of the virus, you should also avoid entering the home to carry out any work. Many cleaners and nannies can return to work in the coming weeks, as Boris Johnson prepares to start scaling back the lockdown measures.
Before entering a person’s home to carry out any work you should first agree on the precautions you will take to keep yourself and others safe. Before a visit, you should notify your clients of the time that you will be arriving so that they can adequately prepare. Once entering the household, you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds and make sure they are thoroughly dried. Remember to keep washing your hands as frequently as possible, especially after sneezing, blowing your nose or coughing.
As cleaners and nannies return to work, they are being reminded of the correct protocol to follow to ensure safety for all parties. Whilst working in somebodies home you should always keep a safe distance of at least two metres between yourself and any other people. Make sure the rooms you are working in are also well ventilated by opening a window where possible.
With many people expecting Boris Johnson to lift the restrictions and to say that cleaners can return to work or nannies can return to work we have listed some of the advice given so far.
Working as a Cleaner
Advice that cleaners can return to work will be welcome for many employers and cleaners alike. During times like these, it is essential to have a clean home and many people will still require the services of cleaners, especially the elderly or people who are unable to clean themselves to due ill health or other problems. The most important thing to remember is that if the cleaner or a member of the household that is due to be cleaned, experiences any symptoms of coronavirus then the clean should be postponed for at least seven days or until the symptoms have disappeared.
When cleaners can return to work and while a house cleaning is taking place, the customer should stay in a separate room whilst the cleaner is working and both parties should maintain a safe distance of at least two metres from each other.
Cleaners should also thoroughly wash and dry their hands upon entering the property, leaving the property and as frequently as possible whilst working. Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least twenty seconds, especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. If no handwashing facilities are available, hand santiser should be used and carried with the cleaner at all times.
When cleaners can return to work having the right protective equipment is essential. After entering a property, the cleaner should also remove their shoes or wear shoe covers if possible, to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus. Disposable or machine washable gloves should also be worn.
Cleaning products should be used according to the labels to maximise their effectiveness. For example, using detergents with warm water (not too hot or too cold) will improve the anti-bacterial benefits. Cleaners should also pay close attention to ‘high-touch areas’ such as door handles, light switches, remote controls, and tables, to disinfect them thoroughly.
A good code of practice when cleaning is to always begin with the cleanest area first and end up in the dirtiest. This reduces the risk that you will contaminate any clean areas with dirt and bacteria from the dirtiest areas. This is especially important if you are cleaning in a house where a vulnerable person lives.
Once the cleaner is finished, any mops or cloths used to clean the house should be washed at 60C or above to kill any germs. Some additional steps that cleaners can take to reduce the risk of infection include:
- Asking clients to provide their cleaning supplies and equipment.
- Using new equipment (such as mops, cloths and sponges) for each household.
- Using disposable cloths or paper towels where possible.
- Wiping down equipment such as vacuum cleaners or bottles before and after use.
- Using sanitising wipes to close and lock doors behind you once you have finished cleaning a home.
Working as a Nanny
Working as a nanny is permitted under the current coronavirus lockdown rules but both nannies and the households they work for should be taking the correct precautions to protect each other. Many nannies were furloughed when the crisis first hit, but it is now expected that cleaners and nannies can return to work in the coming weeks. However, it is important to remember that if the nanny or a member of the household in which the nanny works has any symptoms of coronavirus then the nanny should not go to work.
If a household is working from home and does not require the services of their nanny, the nanny is eligible for the government’s furloughing scheme if they have been paid through PAYE, sent HMRC an RTI submission notifying a payment in respect of the nanny on or before 19 March 2020 and have a UK bank account. Under this scheme, workers can be temporarily laid off due to the crisis, with the taxpayer covering 80% of their wages.
While working in a household as a nanny, you should remember to regularly wash your hands for at least twenty seconds with soap and water, as well as washing the children’s hands. Also keep at least two metres away from any members of the household that you are not caring for. Avoid meeting up in groups of people and do not visit playgrounds or other places where people may congregate.
It is also recommended that only one nanny should work for a family and that both the nanny and the household members are practising social distancing. This is especially important to remember when cleaners and nannies can return to work so that people are still protected as much as possible.
Travelling to and from a household to provide nannying services is also permitted under the current coronavirus lockdown laws. However, where possible avoid using public transport and walk or cycle to work if you can. In some cases, the family may be able to drive the nanny to and from work.
Working in Construction
While it is expected that Boris Johnson will announce that cleaners and nannies can return to work under the first stage of lifting the current coronavirus lockdown rules, many people are speculating that those working in construction will also be encouraged to go back to work in line with government guidance. The construction industry plays an important role in keeping the public safe and can be operated in line with social distancing guidelines when restrictions are lifted.
For workers returning to construction sites, staff should be reminded to frequently wash their hands for at least twenty seconds using soap and water. If hand washing facilities are not available, then hand sanitiser should be used instead. Cleaning hands is especially important on arrival and departure from the construction site, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
Where possible, workers must try to keep a safe distance of a least two metres between themselves. Face-to-face contact should also be minimised, but if it is essential, the time for this contact should be kept to below fifteen minutes.
Like cleaners and nannies returning to work when the restrictions are lifted, those working on construction sites should also ensure that the workspace is well ventilated. The windows of enclosed spaces or machinery should be kept open and the inside of cabs should be regularly cleaned – especially if the machinery is being operated by multiple people.
The government also advises that stairs should be used where possible instead of lifts or hoists. If a lift or hoist must be used, then fewer people should be allowed to enter to reduce congestion and lower the risk of infection.
Those working on construction sites are also reminded not to go into work if they are experiencing any symptoms coronavirus or if anybody in their household has symptoms.
Relaxing the Coronavirus Restrictions
The UK first went into lockdown on Monday 23rd March – just over six weeks ago. During these weeks, people have only been allowed out of their houses for essential trips including for food shopping, exercise, medical reasons or to go to work if they are a key worker and cannot work from home.
On Sunday 10th May, Boris Johnson is due to give a speech detailing a roadmap that will help the United Kingdom slowly ease out of lockdown and to restart the economy. The Prime Minister announced that Britain was over the worst of the crisis and that we can now start to look ahead at getting back to work and back to normal in a controlled way to prevent the infection rate from spiking again.
It is expected that the Government will announce that the lockdown measures can only start to be relaxed after five key criteria have been met. These criteria include a fall in the number of Covid-19 cases being recorded, a declining death rate, ensuring that the NHS is fully prepared, and having measures in place to prevent a second spike in the virus.
A large amount of speculation revolves around when cleaners and nannies can return to work, but the announcement will also include advice for all employers. Some of this advice could include staggering shift times to avoid having too many people congregating in one place, working from home where possible still, and banning the use of hotdesking and shared equipment.
Where possible employers will need to keep employees at least two metres apart from each other, and if this cannot be done then the use of screens and protective equipment should be implemented instead.
The public transport system will also be restricted to limit the risk of infection. The government has suggested that where possible people should walk or cycle to work, and work in staggered shifts so as not to overwhelm the transport system.
Some media reports also suggest that meetings in small groups or ‘social bubbles’ may be permitted to allow people to start seeing their friends and family again.
Ahead of the Prime Ministers’ announcement on the evening of Sunday 10th May, the government has unveiled its new slogan. The previous ‘Stay at Home’ slogan has been replaced with ‘Stay Alert, Control the Virus and Save Lives’ as the lockdown restrictions are to be gradually lifted. The first thing to happen will be the introduction of a five-stage warning system to monitor the risk of infection in different parts of the country. The alerts will range from green in level one to red in level five and could see tougher restrictions in the worst-affected areas of the country.
Before making his announcement to the nation, Boris Johnson will first hold a COBRA meeting with Cabinet ministers, leaders from Scotland and Wales as well as London Mayer Sadiq Khan. Following the announcement to the nation, a 50-page document covering the entire plan will be released to MPs on Monday 11th May.
Although it is not yet confirmed, it is believed that the Prime Minister will assess restrictions every fortnight (instead of every three weeks) before deciding on whether to lift them.
The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented situation that has never been experienced by the current generation. As such, people have many questions, so we have listed some of the most common ones, and the answers, below.
When can I leave the house?
Under the current government guidance, you should only leave your home for a handful of reasons. These reasons are; shopping for essentials such as food or medicine, one form of exercise per day (running, walking or cycling), any medical need such as donating blood, avoiding injury or illness, to help or provide care for a vulnerable person, travelling for work purposes if you are unable to work from home.
Can I go to the GP, dentist or other medical appointments?
Many GP surgeries have postponed routine appointments until the crisis is over. However, if you have spoken to your GP on the phone and need to attend a medical appointment then this is permitted. Likewise, if you need emergency dental care you may also leave the house and travel for this.
Should I go to work?
Where possible you should work from home but in some cases where you cannot work from home, you can travel. This includes those delivering to front line services, those who work in construction or manufacturing, and train and bus drivers.
Employers should take every possible step to allow their workers to work from home including providing suitable IT equipment.
Can I see my friends and relatives?
No, we must stay away from each other to avoid the spread of the virus. This includes not meeting up with friends or family, and to keep in touch using video calls or phone calls instead.
Can I go out and help a person classed as vulnerable?
Yes, you can go out to care for a vulnerable person or to deliver essentials such as food and medicine. If you are delivering essentials you should maintain a two-meter distance at all times and wash your hands for at least twenty seconds using soap and water or hand sanitiser.
Can I travel to someone’s house to look after children?
If you are a nanny or provide paid-for childcare in a child’s home, then yes you can go to work. However, you must follow government guidance and take the precautions advised by Public Health England. This includes:
- Not going to work if you or somebody within your household is showing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Do not work in a household that is isolating or where an individual is being shielded.
- Remember to wash your hands regularly for at least twenty seconds using soap and water, especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are regularly touched such as devices, light switches, door handles and remote controls.
- Keep a safe distance from other members of the household that you are not caring for.
What are the consequences of breaking the rules?
To help enforce the lockdown rules and prevent the spread of the virus, the police have been given powers to control what happens if somebody is purposefully breaking the rules. If you breach the regulations the police can:
- Tell you to go home, leave an area or disperse a group of people.
- Instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking the rules if they are caught doing so.
- Take you home or arrest you if necessary.
- Issue you with a fine (fixed penalty notice) of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.
- For second-time offenders, the police can issue a fine of £120, doubling on each further repeat offence up to a maximum of £960. If a person does not pay the fine, they could be taken to court where a magistrate can impose unlimited fines.