Restrictions are being increased across the four nations to tackle the second wave of coronavirus, and First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced a national lockdown in Wales from Friday 23 October until Monday 9 November.

  • Construction and manufacturing can continue, provided employers take all reasonable measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. This includes builders’ merchants, which can remain open.
  • In a last minute change to the guidance, work in people’s homes can continue, as long as both the worker and household members have no symptoms of coronavirus. If a member of the household is self‐isolating, works are not recommended except to repair faults posing a direct safety risk.
  • All accommodation providers are required to close, unless they are providing ‘specific services’ at the request of the Welsh Government or a local authority. This includes providing emergency accommodation for key workers, which include those responsible for the construction or maintenance of public service buildings.

A concern for the sector is that in Wales Centres that have been hosting the H&S Tests will be closing.

In Northern Ireland, a tighter lockdown has been implemented for four weeks, increasing restrictions on travel and gatherings.  Again construction sites are allowed to continue to operate in compliance with social-distancing measures. Border counties in the south such as Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan have seen their level of restrictions increase, meaning only essential workers should go to work; construction has been deemed as ‘essential’ and will be allowed to continue.

In Scotland it was announced today (23rd October) that a 5 tier system is to be introduced. ‘Level 0’ is effectively the same level of protection as the Route Map Phase 3 measures Scotland reached in August and will act as a baseline, with four levels above that designed to apply increasing protection from the virus in areas according to prevalence, the risk to communities and the need to protect the NHS.  Levels 1, 2 and 3 will be broadly equivalent to the UK Government levels to offer some uniformity with measures south of the border. Levels will be reviewed on a regular basis.

Ongoing financial support is set out in the framework and will be available to businesses which are required to close or which can remain open but will be directly affected by restrictions. The Scottish Government will work with local authorities to ensure grants are made available quickly and efficiently.

In the coming days the Scottish Government will engage with local government, stakeholders, economic groups and other partners, prior to a final version of the strategic framework being debated in parliament next Tuesday (27 October).

With some detail to be confirmed in Scotland, at the time of writing, Construction work can continue across the UK (subject to complying with the necessary social distancing and COVID safety measures) – in the event of workers being stopped on journeys to and from sites, Build UK has produced an authorisation letter template for employers which may be helpful.

You can access the FIS COVID Hub for all the latest news here