One of the UK’s leading business organisations has launched a six-point plan, aimed at instilling confidence, ahead of the country opening up after months of lockdown.
Confederation of British Industry (CBI) director-general Tony Danker says the plan is aimed at building confidence among businesses, their employees and customers, in order to reopen successfully and learn to live with the virus and include:
- Use all means to reduce self-isolation impact on staff shortages, including test and release
• Outline the future of workplace testing beyond July
• Keep mask wearing on public transport under review
• Give firms – especially SMEs – guidance on what they must do
• Health and Safety Executive to provide assistance with risk assessments
• Businesses to share examples of good practice
He says maintaining momentum as stage four approaches is critical to building on recent economic data, which shows growth of 0.8 per cent GDP in May, with hospitality accounting for the majority.
Outlining the plan, Mr Danker said: “Learning to live and work with the virus is the right strategy. But we need to ensure this is a confident not an anxious transition, otherwise it will not work.
“Businesses have had a real boost this week with the prime minister’s plans for the final stage of the reopening. What’s needed now is a concerted effort between business and Government to create widespread confidence from the get-go.”
The plans say the Government can support business to make a success of the move to Stage 4 by using the various steps:
Build key enablers of confidence in the economy by:
- Bringing forward the date from 16 August to align with move to Step Four on 19 July.
- See how a test and release scheme could operate safely and effectively using a combination of lateral flow tests and PCR tests to confirm a positive result.
- Look at the efficacy of existing daily workplace testing regimes.
Supporting employees and customers to feel confident in using public transport by keeping mask wearing compliance under review.
- The Government can support responsible business by providing guidance on: adhering to the Government’s self-isolation policy; conducting a risk assessment following any changes impacting on health and safety; consulting with employees, or their representatives, on matters of health and safety and adhering to the protections against discrimination outlined in the Equalities Act.
The HSE can also help translate what the scientific evidence means in relation to the effectiveness of key interventions in mitigating risk to help firms make decisions that are proportionate. Examples could include:
- The impact that improved ventilation can have to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission in the workplace.
- The impact that cleaning workspaces and encouraging hand washing can have on reducing the risk posed by heavily utilised communal spaces.
- The impact of interventions such as plastic screens or face coverings.
Examples of good practice could include:
- Businesses who have staff operating within a customer’s home could give the customer the opportunity to decide whether they would prefer the employee to continue to apply covid secure work practice. For example, wearing a facemask.
- Continuing with workplace testing, particularly for businesses operating in crowded spaces, could help support employee confidence.
- Publishing an updated risk assessment outlining a firm’s revised operating environment, could provide a further boost to employee and consumer confidence.