AFTER the Government’s announcement of a return to work plan last week, many employers and employees have been left questioning issues surrounding safety. Most importantly businesses must have enough time and plans in place in order to return to work in a safe and controlled manner.

Businesses and employers who can operate with staff from home, should still continue to do so. Businesses who cannot may return to the workplace but only where social distancing measures, a risk assessment is conducted, and health and safety guidelines followed.

Below is an overview of the advice given by the government for businesses to follow to protect their workforce and customers, whilst continuing to trade, including guidance on social distancing, hygiene, cleanliness, staff sickness advice and staying at:

Where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed businesses should consider whether the activity needs to continue in order for the business to operate and if so take all action possible to mitigate the risk of transmission between staff. Examples can be found at

Staff who are unwell with symptoms, should not travel or attend the workplace. Any staff member who shows symptoms should be sent home and stay at home and follow the governments stay at home guidelines. Necessary hygiene actions should be implemented by businesses.

Employers should use their discretion concerning the need for medical evidence for certification for employees who are unwell. This will allow GPs to focus on their patients. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online, and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website For further information on the guidance and support available to your business please visit here.

Further information and guidance can be found on the government's website,

As we enter the next phase of the pandemic, we are seeing a number of businesses who are reacting and adapting to this new way of operating.

It will be this resilience and innovation that will allow businesses to safely and slowly return to work and provide the lifeline that they need in order to survive.

The Chamber has gathered a host of guidance and support that can be used to help businesses adapt to the guidelines set out by government including how to protect staff health and wellbeing.

This can be found in the People section of the new Coronavirus Business Support Hub,