This weekend saw a rapidly evolving situation where a planned statement from the Prime Minister on new coronavirus restrictions was brought forward to Saturday evening after extensive details were leaked to the media the evening before.
So, what are the new restrictions and how does it affect fenestration, if at all?
As of this Thursday, England will be told to stay at home. Non-essential retail will close, including hospitality, with only take-away available for food outlets. Here are the major changes you need to know according to the BBC:
- People will be told to stay at home except for education, work (if it can’t be done from home), exercise and recreation, medical reasons, shopping for food and other essentials, or to care for others
- All pubs and restaurants will have to close (takeaways and deliveries can continue)
- All non-essential shops will have to close (supermarkets can sell non-essential goods)
- Households will not be allowed to mix with others indoors, or in private gardens
- Individuals can meet one person from outside their household in an outside public space
- Support bubbles for people who live alone and households made up of single parents and children can continue
- Children will be able to move between homes if their parents are separated
- Schools, nurseries, colleges and universities will remain open
- Hotels will only open for people who have to travel for work plus a number of other limited reasons
- Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be allowed, apart from exceptional circumstances
- Places of worship will generally close but funerals, with a maximum of 30 people attending, individual prayer, and a few other activities will be allowed
- Workplaces will be asked to stay open if people cannot work from home – including construction and manufacturing
- Outdoor exercise and recreation will be allowed, but gyms will have to close
- Clinically vulnerable advised not to go to work if they are unable to work from home
After 2 December, different regions will return to the tiers system, depending upon the rates of infection.
For fenestration, the question naturally being asked was whether we were allowed to continue or not. The answer is yes, we can. Fenestration at supplier level classifies as manufacturing, which was told could stay open. And for installers, there was this key piece of guidance uploaded to the Government website over the weekend which cleared things up for installation companies:
for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes)
This clears the way for fitters and other tradespeople to work inside other people’s homes so long as they follow COVID-secure practices and ensure social distancing from homeowners. This will have been a massive relief to the sector as it suffered badly from the first lockdown.
You can find a full rundown of the new restrictions here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae
Whilst construction and manufacturing can continue, spare a thought once again for the many other sectors that are going to be severely limited or stopped completely to try to halt the spread of the virus. Many millions will once again be worried about their jobs and livelihoods. We have been very lucky to find ourselves, almost by fluke, in a small niche of sectors where people have been able to spend their disposable income, and that is something we should appreciate. But we need to be humble too, as many others have a far more uncertain and rocky road ahead.
Will it end on Dec 2nd?
In Parliament today the PM and others stated that “as a matter of law” these restrictions will end on December 2nd, and that MPs will get a chance to vote on new restrictions on a regional level. If you think that this doesn’t sound like a simple “yes” then you’d be right. Although that statement does sound definitive, it doesn’t.
At the weekend Michael Gove hinted that the restrictions might go beyond December 2nd, and that the Government will decide based on the facts and science before deciding what to do. With the PM confirming that MPs will get a vote on what restrictions are or are not put into force from December 2nd, that leaves the door open to Parliament possibly voting to either extend measures in a regional or national way, depending on the evidence available. So whilst its likely the restrictions will end on the 2nd, it’s not a guarantee.
I think even if restrictions were halted in early December, we’re unlikely to go back to a fully open economy. There will be restrictions on many parts of life once again.
I have said this before on posts of this nature and it’s worth saying again. We have to come together to support each other. These continue to be highly uncertain, dangerous and worrying times for all of us. Stress and anxiety levels will be high for many. Be kind. Be understanding. Be patient. Progress might be slow. Questions might go unanswered. There are probably very good reasons for it. We are all in this together and we can get to the other side together too.
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