The move to Step 4 on 19 July – if confirmed on Monday – will succeed if we work together to boost confidence. Every single intervention needs to be viewed through the lens of building customer and employee confidence.
This will require businesses to continue putting safety at the heart of their approach as they have since the start of the COVID crisis, but also government supporting employers through the key enablers of confidence along with guidance about how to live with the virus.
The government can support businesses to make a success of the move to Step 4 by using next week to deliver a six-point plan to build confidence:
The government can build key enablers of confidence in the economy by:
- Boosting confidence in the isolation system by exploring all available tools for how to increase its agility and responsiveness. Some options include:
- Bringing forward the date from 16 August to align with a move to step 4 on 19 July
- Working at pace to see how a test & release scheme could operate safely and effectively using a combination of lateral flow tests – and where symptomatic PCR tests to confirm a positive result
- Look at the efficacy of existing daily workplace testing regimes that are already well established in many close contact workplaces for essential workers.
- Building employee confidence by giving firms clarity on the future for workplace testing.
- Continued government funding of workplace testing beyond the end of July
- Continue with the pilot of DCT (daily contact testing) beyond the end of July.
- Supporting employees and customers to feel confident in using public transport by keeping mask wearing compliance under review.
The government can support responsible business, so they adjust to living with the virus with confidence and clarity by providing guidance on:
- What they are required to do - examples could include:
- Adhering to the government’s self-isolation policy.
- Conduct a risk assessment following any changes impacting health and safety.
- Consulting with employees, or their representatives, on matters of health and safety.
- Adhering to the protections against discrimination outlined in the Equalities Act.
- How they should assess the risk of their working environment and what interventions are proportionate to that risk:
- 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 handwashing can have on reducing the risk posed by heavily utilised communal spaces
- The impact that interventions such as perspex screens or face coverings can have on reducing the risk of transmission via droplets in poorly ventilated workspaces.
- Examples of best practice they could follow – examples could include:
- Businesses, where staff operate 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 practices whilst in their home. 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 that outlines a firm's revised operating environment could provide a further boost to employee and consumer confidence.
Businesses have identified what is now needed to deliver confidence in the reopening. The government should now use the week ahead to work with businesses to build confidence in customers and employees to make a success of the move to Step 4.
Sign up for the CBI @10am webinar on Monday 12 July to hear from our panel of experts for an in-depth discussion on preparing your business for re-opening.