Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. As the situation in the UK evolves, we recommend that you stay informed by reading the latest information from the following sources.
Public Health Advice
Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the following general cold and flu precautions are taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading COVID-19:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- Face masks for the general public are not recommended to protect from infection – there is no evidence of benefit from their use outside healthcare environments
NHS advice for the general public on Coronavirus can be found here.
Guidance and advice for employees, employers and businesses in providing advice about coronavirus can be found here.
The UK government updated its coronavirus advice following the Cobra emergency meeting of ministers and health advisers on 12/3/2020. Key points:
- Anyone with a persistent cough or high temperature is now being advised to self-isolate for 7 days, as the UK government moves to the “delay” phase of its plan to tackle Coronavirus
- This action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious
- Plan ahead and ask your employer, friends and family for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water
- Stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible
You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111: https://111.nhs.uk/.
If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
Coronavirus advice for hotels and the hospitality industry can be found here.
Government-issued guidance for British people travelling and living overseas following the outbreak of coronavirus can be found here.
Legal Advice for Employers
- If someone is healthy but has received a written notice to self-isolate from a GP or NHS 111 are they entitled to sick pay?
- If somebody chooses to self-isolate, and/or is not given formal written notice to do so by a GP or NHS 111, are they entitled to sick pay?
- If an employee is self-isolating, can we still require him or her to submit a ‘fit note’?
- What if we are concerned about someone who has recently returned from a high risk country such as China or Italy, can we tell them not to come into work?
- What if an employee requests time off to look after someone else who has or may have the Coronavirus?
- What if employees cancel their current holiday plans at short notice if they were planning to visit an affected country. Do we have to accept this if the rotas have already been reorganised?
- What if employees are refusing to come to work for fear of catching the Coronavirus?
- Can we require employees to take annual leave if they have requested time off work?
- What if we decide to close because of the risk of people catching the virus?
- What if an employee or member of the public who is confirmed to have the virus has recently been in the workplace?
- What if an employee has had contact with a person who has a confirmed case of the virus for example, an employee living in the same household as a confirmed case?
- What if an employee is refusing to handle post, packages or food from affected areas
- Should we be doing anything to reduce the risks of exposure in the workplace?
Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce
Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce has put together a toolkit for businesses to address what steps they should be taking to mitigate the potential impacts. It can be found here.
Impact on travel to Staffordshire
There are currently no limitations for travel to and within the UK.
Specific procedures are in place for visitors from affected regions, with further information on the official UK government website here.
Many North Staffordshire attractions remain open and most events and conferences are still currently scheduled to take place; however, please check directly with the venue or organiser for the latest information. Known cancellations include:
- All games in England’s Premier League & The English Football Leagues
There are no closures on the public transport network.
Any advice related to Newcastle under Lyme, public events, spaces and transport, will be shared from official sources by Newcastle BID, should it become necessary.
While we are trying to minimise larger briefings and meetings, our office remains open and committed to supporting our members.