COVID-19 Advice for Members
HAE EHA produces regular Covid-19 updates, helping members stay up-to-date with coronavirus during these challenging times. The updates contain information on COVID-19, its impact on the plant, tool and event equipment hire sectors, and links to useful and important resources; which can be useful to both businesses and individuals employed in the industry.
The Latest Advice and Information
Please review the latest Covid-19 Advice Update and consider the implications for your employees, customers and business continuity. HAE EHA has provided useful links to related articles which will provide further guidance.
We will continue to keep members updated on all issues relating to Covid-19 here so please review frequently:
Following on from the Roadmap to unlock current Covid restrictions in England, the government has published a detailed list of business premises and activities that can reopen and when. The timing is dependent on the outcome of various tests outlined by ministers.
Prime Minister's Statement
In a statement to Parliament on 22nd February, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, outlined a detailed, Four Step Roadmap to ending England's Covid lockdown. Each step would be conditional on certain tests being met and includes a 5 week interval between each step to evaluate evidence and adjust accordingly.
Whilst there is little direct impact on construction-related activity, apart from the overall easing of travel and economic restrictions, the more direct impact will be a timetable for holding all events.
Accompanying the PM's announcement, the Cabinet Office published COVID-19 Response for Spring 2021, a comprehensive plan for easing and eventually ending lockdown. The document notes the planned updating of Covid-Secure Guidance to take into account ventilation and testing together with further scientific research and pilots for major events, including weddings.
The COVID-19 Response document contains much detail and members are urged to read it in full.
Rollout of Vaccinations
The Government aims for everyone who is 50 and over, or at risk, to have been offered a first dose of the vaccine by 15th April, and for everyone aged 18 and over to have been offered a first dose by 31st July.
Even when vaccinated, there is still a chance people can contract the virus and pass it on. No vaccine is 100% effective and, like all viruses, COVID-19 can mutate. As a result, as lockdown is lifted, there will sadly be more cases, hospitalisations and deaths. The Government will take a cautious approach to easing lockdown, guided by the data in order to avoid a surge in infections that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. Due to the relatively uniform spread of the virus across the country, the Government plans to ease restrictions at the same time across the whole of England.
The Roadmap for Easing Restrictions
Each step will be subject to an assessment of the data against four tests. The tests are listed below.
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
- The assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
Four Steps to Recovery
The steps are summarised below and each will be subject to an assessment of the data against the four tests listed above. If a step is delayed, subsequent steps will be pushed back in order to maintain the necessary five week period to assess the impact of each step and provide notice.
Step 1 from 8th March
- Schools will reopen
- Families will be allowed to meet outdoors
- People will no longer be legally required to stay at home
Step 2 from 12th April
- Some sections of our indoor economy will reopen
- More outdoor settings will reopen
- Hospitality venues will open for outdoor service but the requirement for ‘table service' will remain
- Most outdoor settings and attractions can reopen
- Weddings and commemorative events can take place with up to 15 attendees
- Pilots for larger scale events during April
Step 3 from 17th May
- All but the most high-risk sectors will reopen
- COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and premises must not cater for groups larger than legal limits
- Weddings and commemorative events can take place with up to 30 attendees
- People will be able to meet socially indoors in a group of 6, or with one other household
- Government will launch the Events Research Programme to examine how larger events could take place without social distancing
Step 4 from 21st June
- All legal limits on social contact removed
- Remaining closed settings to be reopened*
- Large events and theatre performances no longer subject to previous capacity restrictions*
- All limits removed on weddings and other live events*
* Subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme
Dates and targets could be subject to change depending on the results of ongoing testing and careful monitoring of infection rates and vaccination milestones. For the full, detailed report on the Government plan for England's recovery click the link below.
COVID-19 Scotland's Strategic Framework Update
The First Minister has today outlined how Scotland is expected to emerge from the current lockdown and the six main tools for achieving this:
- The quickest practical roll-out of the vaccination programme
- The most effective use of Test and Protect
- Applying proportionate protective measures (rules and guidance) to suppress transmission of the virus
- Effective measures to manage the risk of importation of the virus
- Supporting individuals, businesses and organisations to adhere to protective measures
- Providing care and support to mitigate the harms of the crisis
The Scottish Government has always made it clear that it will prioritise education and a phased return for Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) and schools has already started. It is hoped that more young people will be able to return to school later in March. However, achieving that, together with the opening-up of care home visiting, means that any further easing of restrictions before mid-March is highly unlikely. Indeed, the government envisages that the current requirement to stay at home, unless you have a reasonable excuse for leaving, will be in place until at least early April so that there is sufficient headroom to get more young people back to school. The timing of any changes will be driven by evidence and data, not predetermined dates. It is also important that there is enough time between reviews to see the impact of changes made.
To view the Strategic Framework Update document for Scotland click here.
Unlike for England, geographical (regional and council) restrictions are likely to be announced, details will be issued when available.
Updated Coronavirus Control Plan: Alert Levels in Wales, Coming out of Lockdown
Stay-at-home restrictions will continue in Wales as the youngest pupils began returning to school on Monday 22nd February. First Minister Mark Drakeford announced, "We are now at alert level four where the strictest 'stay at home' restrictions are in place. Once these are lifted, we will move into a period of transition under which we intend to move gradually, step-by-step, to alert level three." Click here for the full report.
Level 4 Frequently Asked Questions
For a list of FAQs click here.
Economic Resilience and Reconstruction Mission Published
To read the full mission statement click here.
From March 1st the law will be changed to allow licensed wedding venues, such as visitor attractions and hotels, to re-open but only to perform wedding and civil partnership ceremonies. The next three-week review of the regulations will also consider the restrictions around non-essential retail and close contact services. See this statement by the First Minister for more details.
Although 'hire' is not specifically mentioned, plant, tool and equipment hire falls under 'homeware and hardware shops'. The link below is updated government guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments:
Updated government guidance
HAE EHA Social Distancing Practical Guidance Documents
Click here to view and download
CBILS Loans Portal from HAE EHA Commercial Finance
Click here to access the portal
Bounce Back Loans Schemes Provider List
BBLS providers and links to application forms
Updated Job Retention Scheme Guidance
Click here to view
Local Covid-19 Lockdown Updates
Updates on where restrictions are in place in England
Guidance on what you can and cannot do
Test and Trace Guidance
Click here to view
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Working Safely Guidance
Click here to view
CITB Covid-19 Communication Updates
Click here to view
Key National Covid-19 Links
Previous Covid-19 Updates
Please click here to view all previous news and information releases made by HAE EHA since the start of the coronavirus crisis.