This is a breaking story and further updates will be issued…

Announced this lunchtime by Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford, Wales is to go into a “fire-break” two-week full national lockdown. The lockdown sees the situation in Wales revert back to what was seen in March and April. All residents in Wales are required to stay at home. Non-essential businesses have to close, other than companies classed as essential. Leisure, tourism, hospitality, non-essential retail etc all have to close. The lockdown comes into effect this Friday at 6pm and will end on Monday 9th November.

Wales has been asked where possible to work from home. Only businesses that absolutely cannot work from home would be able to continue.

The Welsh Government has provided this guidance from their website with regards to tradespeoples in homes. This will affect fenestration:

Work carried out inside other people’s homes can only take place if it is urgent or to repair a fault which poses a direct risk to people’s safety – for example, emergency plumbing or carry out an adaptation to allow that household to remain in their property, or the property is vacant.  Work should not be carried out at someone else’s house if the worker or any member of the household is self-isolating or showing COVID-19 symptoms, however mild.

Like other businesses, people working in someone else’s home must take all reasonable measures to ensure to mitigate the risk of coronavirus spreading when working in other people’s households. Please see the guidance on reasonable measures and on working in other people’s homes for more information.

If attendance is unavoidable (because of an urgent or emergency situation), additional precautions should be taken to keep workers and householders completely separate from each other.  In these cases, Public Health Wales can provide advice to tradespeople and households.

As I understand it, this means regular installation work needs to cease as of this Friday, and supersedes the argument that fitters cannot work from home. However, if a homeowner’s property is vacant then work can proceed. Whether work can proceed on new-build sites I am as of yet unsure. It may well be a decision down to the building companies.

In terms of financial support, this is what has been announced:

  • £300m aid package
  • £1000 grant available to all businesses
  • up to £5000 available to hospitality businesses

The First Minister confirmed that the lockdown will definitely end on Monday 9th November, but that any benefits of the lockdown won’t be seen until weeks after the measures. He also confirmed that critical care units across the country are full and that the health care system is now under pressure.

Primary Schools will be allowed to return as normal after the half-term break. As will Years & and 8. The rest of the secondary school years will have to remain at home for the second week.

Northern Ireland has just entered its own new measures. Schools have been closed for four weeks, and hospitality venues such as pubs and bars have also closed. The full list of new restrictions for Northern Ireland can be found here. Although the new NI restrictions are significant, it doesn’t go quite as far as to say people must stay at home.

Whether Scotland goes down the same route as Wales will remain to be seen. The fire-break option remains on the table for now. Momentum for a fire-break in England will likely now be even higher, especially when the infection rate in England is double that of Wales and northern hospitals.

As more information becomes available this post will be updated.

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