Self-Isolation Guidance for COVID-19 Contacts (England)

I posted earlier this morning about the new legal duty to self-isolate that applies in England.

In addition to updated Guidance for households, linked to that post, Public Health England has also issued Guidance for COVID-19 Contacts (who are not Household Members) – here.

Note the new law sets out legal duties for notified persons – these are the person who tested positive (and that person must supply the names of their household) and their contacts meeting the definition of having been in close contact. The law does not set out legal duties for household members. In practice, household members and close contacts might be difficult to distinguish.

Guidance now exists for

– Households – here.

– Contacts – here.

Public Health England definition of ‘contact’ is not the same as ‘close contact’ set out in the England self-isolation law.

If you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then you will be notified by the NHS Test and Trace service via text message, email or phone. If you are notified, please follow the guidance in this document closely.

If you have not been notified that you are a contact, this means you do not need to self-isolate and should follow the general guidance, for example, social distancing, hand-washing, and covering coughs and sneezes.

New Legal Duty to Self-Isolate (England)

From 12am this morning, 28 September 2020, a new legal duty exists to self-isolate if notified (by persons identified in the legislation) as being a person who has (a) tested positive for COVID-19 after 28 September 2020 or (b) had a close contact after 28 September 2020 with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The notified person must self-isolate (for the period and as stipulated in the Legislation), and must also notify each person living in his/her household. The Legislation does not set out legal duties for household members.

The Legislation – The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self- Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 1045) – is here.

Close contact means –

(1) having face-to-face contact with someone at a distance of less than 1 metre,

(2) spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of an individual,

(3) travelling in a car or other small vehicle with an individual or in close proximity to an individual on an aeroplane.

Please note the duties on Employers.

The Stay at Home Guidance is also updated 28 September – you will see this has instructions for household members. The status of the document is Guidance. The document is here.

COVID-19 Working Safely Guidance Updated (England)

Following press announcements yesterday and the day before, the government’s Working Safely Guidance (England) is updated to reflect a change to the 2m rule (to allow a lesser distance) and add guidance on support bubbles.

Information on the updates that have taken place to the Working Safely Guidance (England) and access to the updated documents is here.

Note : physical distancing of 2m continues to be applied in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

COVID-19 Aviation Health & Safety Protocol (EU)

On 15 April 2020, the European Commission, in cooperation with the President of the European Council, put forward a Joint European Roadmap setting out recommendations on lifting COVID-19 containment measures. I Blog posted about this at the time.

As called for in the Roadmap, on 13 May 2020, the Commission put forward further guidelines on how to progressively restore transport services, connectivity and free movement as swiftly as the health situation allows it, while protecting the health of transport workers and passengers. I also put a Blog post about this.

The Commission Communication mandated EASA (the European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and ECDC (the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) to issue jointly more detailed technical operational guidance for the aviation sector.

This document is here.

As the document itself says –

The purpose of this aviation health safety protocol is to provide guidance to airport operators, aeroplane operators and national aviation authorities, as well as other relevant stakeholders, on how to facilitate the safe and gradual restoration of passenger transport. This is subject to the deployment of proportionate and effective measures to protect the health of aviation personnel and passengers, by reducing the risk of SARS- CoV-2 transmission in the airport and on board aircraft as much as practicable.

COVID-19 Restrictions Changes (UK)

In the past days, a number of UK jurisdictions have changed their Restrictions law. This is in order to relax some of the lockdown measures.

The new amendments will be loaded today into the COVID-19 Law List in Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists – the COVID-19 Law List is found on the top right accessed from the OHS topic page. [UK and Ireland systems]

As this emergency situation continues, we will be bringing forward COVID-19 Law Checklists (UK jurisdictions). I will advise nearer the time when these will be available.

COVID-19 Workplace Guidance (England)

Yesterday (25 May) saw the key Working Safely guidance for different workplaces (issued 11 May) updated to reflect industry feedback and to expand coverage of non essential retail categories ahead of planned opening.

On the 19 May, the 5 steps for businesses to take were added – here. Please note (as I posted before, check back on my Blog, the risk assessments of larger businesses must be published on their websites).

You should share the results of your risk assessment with your employees. If possible, you should consider publishing it on your website (and we would expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so).

Notice that should be displayed in the workplace – here.

The Working Safely Guidance link is here.

Please note the links to the guidance issued in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where the timetable of non-essential business re-opening differs.

Non-essential retail in England will re-open in June, as set out in the PM timeline issued yesterday 25 May –

• Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it is generally easier to apply social distancing.

• All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.

Certain businesses and activities must remain closed – see here. This is underpinned by enacted law.

COVID-19 Reissued Guidance (Wales)

I posted yesterday that Scotland had reissued its stay at home and away from others guidance. Today, Wales has also reissued its stay at home and away from others guidance – here.

Please read carefully, including the information via the links. Wales is not exactly the same as Scotland.

As I posted yesterday and today, England and Northern Ireland are different again, and from one another.

COVID-19 New State Guidance (Northern Ireland)

England yesterday issued new state guidance, and Ireland (the Republic) issued a Roadmap some days ago (see recent posts about these).

Northern Ireland has now issued new state guidance – here.

Unlike England and the Republic, Northern Ireland is not proposing specific target dates.

Apart from garden centres reopening, no changes to workplace restrictions are proposed. The next review is 28 May.