On the evening of the 8th December, the Prime Minister announced that England is moving to Plan B in terms of COVID response due to the spread of the new Omicron variant of the virus and potential risk of overwhelming the NHS whilst jabs and boosters roll-out continues.

He confirmed that the following additional restrictions will be introduced over the next week:

  • From Friday, the legal requirement to wear a face covering will be extended to most public indoor venues, although it will not include hospitality settings
  • From Monday, the guidance to work from home where it is possible to do so will be reintroduced
  • Daily tests will be introduced for close contacts, rather than a requirement to self‐isolate, to minimise disruption.
From a construction industry perspective the situation is pretty much consistent across the UK, with any significant variance impacting private and social interactions.
Construction sites are urged to continue to minimise the risk of spreading the virus to keep the workforce safe and sites operational.  Guidance on the Use of Face Coverings in Construction has been updated.  The CLC Site Operating Procedures remain under review (any changes we’ll let you know) and should be used as a recommendation.  The Build UK COVID‐19 flowchart is again being reviewed and we will confirm and publish any updated versions shortly.
We should note that apart from the legal requirements on face coverings in public spaces and access requirements for hospitality settings, the big areas of change are guidance and recommendatrion – whilst there is no legal requirement to comply, this does not protect an employer from potential of civil claims if guidance is disregarded and adequate precautions are not taken.

As well as the SOP in England In Scotland, CICV Forum has revised its free good practice guide for construction professionals, containing advice on self-isolation.  The CICV Forum (of which FIS are members) has produced some cracking videos on wearing masks and working safely are available to use on your own social media channels and website. You can download them here.

It is also recommended that you revisit signage to remind people on site and FIS, with the help of CICV has produced a Mask for Task, Cover for Covid poster.