When does 2m = 1m +

Business and consumers alike have largely welcomed a) the relaxation in the rules about which businesses can now open and b) the introduction of guidance about when 1m social distancing plus mitigation is an acceptable alternative to 2 metres.

Careful implementation of the Guidance should allow us to socialise, staycate and scrub up to look the part when we do it.

The generic and the workplace specific Guidance is largely self explanatory but some key points to consider when implementing it include:

1. One metre is not the new normal

Be clear with employees, customers and visitors that 1 metre is not the new normal. It is the third best way to ensure you have taken steps to reduce the risks to the lowest level reasonably practicable in line with your obligations under health and safety legislation. Those who can still effectively work at home should continue to do so. And where 2m social distancing can be maintained, that is the better option. (See here for a more in depth look at your H&S obligations)

2. Bear in mind the Test and Trace parameters

If for practical or commercial reasons you opt for “1m plus” additional protective measures, bear in mind the Test and Trace parameters. Contact tracers are particularly interested to know if people with symptoms have had face to face contact with someone (less than 1 meter away) or spent more than 15 minutes within 2m metres of someone). There are clear advantages of maintaining 2 meter distancing where possible as this reduces the likelihood of the need to self-isolate – likely to be important for your employees and you if you are self-employed..

3. Keep a record of your customers

To support Track and Trace businesses that are now allowed to reopen will need to operate booking systems and keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. Further guidance on how to do this in certain industries and in line with GDPR will follow – in the meantime see my colleague Alex Leonidou’s note here.

If you would like a free call to discuss the principles to be adopted further please let us know. We also offer tailored fixed fee reviews of your proposed procedures to provide a fresh pair of eyes..

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