Alok Sharma, The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has written to UK construction with updated guidance with regards to Coronavirus. This is the statement:
To everyone working in the UK’s construction sector,
In these challenging times, I want to pay tribute to all those who are working tirelessly within the construction industry. Delivering on large or small construction sites across the country, in builders’ merchants and logistics providers, or producing construction and mineral products.
Our country and our economy needs all our support. And the construction industry has answered the call to action. Whether by building temporary hospital wards, installing complex and life-saving oxygen systems, constructing the infrastructure that society needs to function or ensuring that people have safe and healthy homes to live in, you are delivering for our Nation through this difficult time. My heartfelt and personal thanks for everything that each and every one of you is doing to support our joint national effort.
The Government has advised that wherever possible, people should work at home. However, we know that for many people working in construction their job requires them to travel to their place of work, and they can continue to do so. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice.
To help ensure that it is safe for you to operate in your workplace, the industry has worked to develop Site Operating Procedures (SOP), which were published by the Construction Leadership Council. These align with the latest guidance from Public Health England. As this health guidance updates, the SOP will reflect any changes.
I am in regular contact with industry leaders about the developing situation that faces the sector. And I am fully committed to continuing to engage through the coming days, weeks and beyond.
Thank you again to everyone operating in the UK construction sector. You are making a hugely valued and critical contribution to the resilience of our Nation and I salute you for the enormous efforts you are individually undertaking to support the UK economy.
THE RT HON ALOK SHARMA MP
Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Where I’m struggling with this guidance is that Government are trusting major construction companies and their workers to abide by the PHE guidelines. We have all seen images and video over the past couple of weeks of construction sites and tubes in London packed. The problem is Government is relying on people and companies to do the right thing, yet we all know that the reality is many won’t.
We’re into April now, and this phase of the lockdown is about half way through. I doubt the Government will leave it until the last day to lengthen it. Spain and Italy and other’s have moved quickly to extend theirs, I suspect ours will be extended in the coming days. And when they do, it will be until at least the end of April.
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