Whilst legal requirements around testing for COVID and self-isolating came to an end in February 2022, and advice to stay at home following a positive test ended in April, COVID-19 is very much still with us. In fact, since the legal guidance ended, we have seen a couple of instances whereby levels of COVID-19 in the community have spiked. Having a knock on impact on businesses and staff availability.
So, whilst there are no legal requirements now surrounding the virus if you either catch or come into contact with someone with COVID-19, you’ll still want to take steps to manage the virus within your workplace and protect your employees.
Managing COVID-19 in the workplace
When it comes to managing COVID-19 in the workplace in 2022, government advice for employers now centres around reducing the spread of respiratory infections.
- Being familiar with the symptoms of respiratory infections such as COVID-19. And encouraging staff to follow the guidance for people with these symptoms. This will include trying to stay at home and avoiding contact with other people
- As an employer, you are encouraged to think about how you can support and encourage your employees to follow this guidance. And to act in accordance with any legal obligations you may have
- Supporting and enabling staff to have vaccinations if they so wish
- Ensuring good ventilation in your workplace and enabling fresh air to freely circulate
- Maintaining high levels of cleanliness in your workplace, including regular cleaning of surfaces which are frequently touched
- Giving additional consideration to the needs of employees who may be at greater risk from COVID-19
- Considering whether you reference COVID-19 specifically in any risk assessments that you carry out
You can find the full government guidance on reducing the spread of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, in the workplace on the gov.uk website.
Whilst legal requirements around COVID-19 no longer exist, remember that as an employer you will still need to meet all your obligations relating to regulations such as health and safety, employment, and equality.
Is there any support available to businesses still impacted by COVID-19?
At the height of the pandemic there was a raft of financial support available to businesses impacted by COVID-19. But many of these schemes have now closed.
It may still be possible to access funding from the COVID-19 additional relief fund. This is a scheme that looks to provide business rates relief to those businesses impacted by COVID-19 but who were not eligible for other discounts such as the retail or nurseries discount or the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme.
You will need to contact your local council to find out if you are eligible and to apply to the scheme. From what we can see online, it looks like the scheme closes on the 30th September so you may want to act quickly on this one if you think you may be eligible.
An announcement that the recovery loan scheme would be extended for another 2 years was also made on the 20th July 2022, so your business may be able to benefit from a government-backed loan.
Of course, we are also now facing a cost of living crisis, with inflation, fuel and energy prices at record highs. So, at Anthony Jones, we fully appreciate what a difficult time this has been for businesses of all sizes. But don’t let this impact your insurance buying. Get in touch with us and we can help you understand not only the type of insurance you can benefit from taking out, but also how much business insurance you will need to fully protect your business.