righttab

Enter your details below...

Motor Trade Legal News

Be Aware - Covid Alert Levels (England)

Following the Government’s announcement regarding the end of lockdown and the re-introduction of a tier system in England from 12.01am on Wednesday 02 December, the Government has now produced, and is currently debating draft Regulations.

It is important to note that the situation is very fluid and Government guidance is being updated regularly, and so this is guidance only and subject to change. Furthermore, as this advice is business oriented this does not deal with issues unrelated to businesses, such as sports venues or religious services etc…

The information in this note is based on updated information released by the Government as of 30 November 2020.  

What tier am I in?

Members will be aware that the allocation of Tiers has been controversial. These are scheduled to be reviewed fortnightly between now and March. Details for your area can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/full-list-of-local-restriction-tiers-by-area


Tier 1: Medium

This means:

  • Businesses and venues can remain open, in a COVID secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.
  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
    • provide table service only, for premises that serve alcohol
    • close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt)
    • stop taking orders after 10pm.
  • Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm if this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.
  • Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres, and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm to conclude performances that start before 10pm.
  • Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
  • Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
  • If you live in a Tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier you should follow the rules for that area while you are there. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in Tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a Tier 3 area as part of a longer journey.
  • For international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list.

Individuals:

  • Must wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated.
  • Must not socialise in groups larger than 6 people, indoors or outdoors, other than where a legal exemption applies.  This is called the ‘rule of 6’.

Find out more about the measures that apply in Tier 1 areas at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-1-medium-alert


Tier 2: High alert

This is for areas with a higher or rapidly rising level of infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place.

In Tier 2:

  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.
  • Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.
  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
    • Provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol.
    • Close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt).
    • Stop taking orders after 10pm.
  • Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm if this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.
  • Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres, and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm to conclude performances that start before 10pm.
  • Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
  • Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
  • You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.
  • If you live in a Tier 2 area, you must continue to follow Tier 2 rules when you travel to a Tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in Tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a Tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey.
  • For international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

Individuals:

  • Must wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated.
  • Must not socialise with anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • Must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’.

Find out more about the measures that apply in Tier 2 areas at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-2-high-alert



Tier-3: Very High

This is for areas with a very high or very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place.

In Tier 3:

  • Hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training.
  • Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close.
  • Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close.
  • Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead.
  • There should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators.
  • Large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, except for drive-in events.
  • You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.
  • Avoid travelling outside of your area, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey.
  • For international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list.

Individuals:

  • Must wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated.
  • Must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody they do not live with, or who is not in their support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues.
  • Must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility – this is called the ‘rule of 6’.

Find out more about the measures that apply in Tier 3 areas at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-3-very-high-alert

What do these Tiers mean for business?

Whilst the Regulations as drafted have a significant impact on the hospitality industry and selected sectors of the economy, on this occasion the Government has decided to lessen controls in other areas and particularly not to continue to close retail businesses generally, preferring instead social distancing measures.

We strongly recommend that businesses undertake a risk assessment and that they have a plan in place to ensure that they can react and adjust their business practices should their local area transit to another Tier (either higher or lower).

The Government has provided very little practical guidance as to what this means for businesses (other than hospitality).

General practical tips

  • Implement and monitor a culture of good practice as part of the Government’s Hands. Face. Space. policy.
  • Review your current handwashing arrangements. Are they correctly sited, would additional signage and posters (with graphics) assist in identifying them and correct hand washing procedure etc.?
  • Review your current awareness of handwashing/sanitising generally, both within the workplace, getting into work, after toilet visits, and after tea and lunch breaks.
  • With staff groups >6 people, create a rota for lunch rooms, etc, to ensure that rooms are not over capacity, or designate areas for staff groups (increasingly a problem as we head into winter and people are more likely to be having lunch indoors).
  • Review your current cleaning schedule for communal areas/surfaces, e.g. door handles, door surfaces, buttons/hatches, light switches, keypads, work bench surfaces, kettles, fridge doors, coffee machines, vending machines, etc. Consider whether to display a clear rota to be signed upon completion.
  • To reduce likelihood of discarded used face mask/PPE being found in communal areas - provide extra bins, e.g. in tea-rooms/communal areas.
  • Team meetings on conference apps with groups <6 in multiple rooms.
  • Track and Trace NHS app.

Covid Secure Standards

Covid secure standards are now mandatory and all businesses and organisations now face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure. Government guidance can be found at:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5eb9703de90e07082fa57ce0/working-safely-during-covid-19-shops-branches-200910.pdf

Further guidance, including templates and resources have been produced by the HSE which can be found at:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm

Businesses in the Medium tier

As members of the public can meet indoors subject to the rule of 6, businesses are advised to implement and maintain social distancing measures. The standard 2 metre rule is in force; however, businesses can maintain 1 metre distancing provided further precautions such as face coverings are in use.

Test drives can still be undertaken provided the Government guidance regarding car sharing is followed. It should be noted that it is difficult to socially distance during car journeys and as such this increases the risk of staff becoming infected. You can reduce the risk of transmission by:

  • Opening windows for ventilation.
  • Travelling side by side or behind other people rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow.
  • Facing away from each other.
  • Considering seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle.
  • Cleaning your car between journeys using standard cleaning products - make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch.
  • Asking the driver and passengers to wear a face covering.

Businesses in the High tier

As there is a higher risk of infection, businesses should consider additional precautions such as reducing the number of staff and limiting the visitors present on site, as well as enhanced cleaning processes, etc. Consideration should be given to additional checks on staff and visitors upon entry, such as temperature checks. Provision of alcohol gel and hand-washing facilities should be increased. Whilst not mandatory, consideration should be given to contact tracing and whether to display the NHS QR code to aid track and trace.

Members of the public are advised to reduce travel and not to travel outside of the area but this is not mandatory.

Test drives can still be undertaken provided the Government guidance regarding car sharing is followed (see above). Consideration should be given as to whether unaccompanied test drives are an appropriate measure to reduce risks.

Businesses in the Very High tier

As there is a very high risk of infection businesses should pay close attention to the information and controls in their area. Whilst ‘Covid-secure‘ businesses can remain open consideration should be given as to whether business closure should be implemented to protect staff and visitors.

Where businesses remain open, additional precautions such as reducing the number of staff and limiting the visitors present on site, as well as enhanced cleaning processes, etc, are highly recommended. Consideration should be given to conducting business outside and at a distance where possible. Visitors to the site should be limited and where possible additional checks should be undertaken upon entry such as temperature checks. Staff should be closely monitored and removed from the workplace where possible.

Members of the public are advised to reduce travel and not to travel outside of the area but this is not mandatory.

Consideration should be given to stopping test drives. Where these do continue, unaccompanied test drives are strongly recommended to reduce risks.

General Note

Don’t forget, the current Regulations are in draft only. At the time of writing, the Government is still debating them and so this is guidance only and subject to change. As an RMI member you have access to the RMI Legal advice line, as well as a number of industry experts for your assistance. Should you find yourself in the situation above, contact us at any stage for advice and assistance as appropriate.