The Prime Minister today, 31st October, announced that from Thursday the country would return to National Lockdown in England for a period of 4 weeks.  The lockdown rules announced are less strict than those announced earlier in the year, but will see restrictions in place on non-essential travel and parts of retail and many hospitality and leisure businesses being forced to close.  However, in his speech the Prime Minister confirmed that the Construction and Manufacturing Sector would not be expected to stop working.   He also announced that the Furlough scheme would be extended into December, the Government will once more put in the full 80% of salary (up to the maximum of £2,500), with the employer only covering pension and national insurance contributions..

Lockdown plans will be set before Parliament this week with the intention of commencement on Thursday.

Commenting on the lockdown FIS CEO, Iain McIlwee stated “This is clearly a blow to National morale and will impact the economic recovery that we had started to see, however, at least the Prime Minister name checked construction and manufacturing so we have clarity as a sector about how to proceed and will not return to the uncertainty and chaos that the industry experienced at the outset of the first lockdown.”

You can access resources in the FIS COVID-19 H&S Hub to support social distancing at work and the FIS COVID-19 Hub should you require letters of authorisation to support hotel stays or travel requirements related to construction activities.

A full transcript of the Prime Minister’s speech and accompanying slides are available here.

Devolved Nations

Scotland now has five COVID protection levels in place, ranging from ‘Level 0 ‐ Nearly Normal’ to ‘Level 4 ‐ Lockdown’, and you can check the level for an area by entering the postcode.  

Wales is under its own ‘firebreak’ lockdown until Monday 9 November 00:01am.  Under this “firebreak” that was implemented from Friday 23 October:

  • 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.

Northern Ireland 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.  These restrictions are in place until Friday 13 November.