Well, tomorrow will see England entering a new lockdown phase, set to last at least a month, which will bring greater restrictions for people and households meeting, but stop short of the first measures introduced in March.
A step that many people think was inevitable – given rapidly-rising infections and fresh lockdowns imposed in nearby France and other places – and some feel should have come weeks ago, spells more stress and heartache for organisations and businesses of all shapes and sizes.
This time, schools, colleges, trades and manufacturing are allowed to continue in a COVID-secure manner, though the hospitality, beauty and entertainment sectors are potentially the hardest-hit, with venues, pubs, restaurants and salons told they must close until at least 2 December.
Even for those sectors allowed to stay open, uncertainty and worry prevail, as they, too, remain concerned with maintaining the safety and wellbeing of their staff and customers in order to remain operational.
Our message to all organisations, no matter what business they’re in, is ‘we’re here for you’. We work closely with schools, local authorities, care homes, cafes, manufacturers, pubs, offices and takeaways. And we’ve spent the past few months researching the latest product developments and regulations, and securing our supply chains for items from hand sanitiser to personal protective equipment (PPE), to ensure we can help them keep the lights on and find new solutions wherever possible.
For example, turning to takeaway food is one option for caterers, and we can offer seasoned advice and help to any outlets thinking of doing so for the first time, as well as supplying all the packaging and other items they might need to make a success of it. Our Sales & Marketing Executive, Chris, said: “Simply tell us your planned menu and we will do our utmost to match with suitable packaging items held in stock.”
In fact, whatever area you’re in, even those currently forced to close, don’t hesitate to get in touch for some experienced insight and help in preparing to open back up again with gusto as soon as you get the green light again.
So, what are the latest rules?
- First and foremost, we’re all being asked to stay at home again, and only go out for specific reasons, including exercise, childcare, medical needs, caring for the vulnerable or picking up essential shopping. The Government is asking us to work from home wherever we can
- We’re no longer allowed to meet indoors or in private gardens, but we can meet one other person from another household in a public, outdoor space. This one-person limit doesn’t apply to pre-school-age children or any who are with parents they rely on for constant care
- Non-essential shops have to close, although they can offer click-and-collect for items
- Pubs, restaurants and bars have to close, but can offer food takeaway and delivery
- Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities like gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools must close, as must entertainment venues and salons
- Places of worship have to close, other than where their premises are being used for funerals, worship broadcasting, formal childcare or services like food banks
- Construction and manufacturing workplaces can remain open
- There will be no weddings or civil partnership ceremonies, except in exceptional circumstances, and no more than 30 people will be allowed to attend funerals
- Children of separated parents will still be able to move between homes
- While clinically-vulnerable people are being advised to be extra-careful, they are not being told to shield again
- Overnight stays, including holidays and nights away in a second home, both in the UK and abroad, are not allowed, though there are some exceptions such as work trips
- And we are being asked to avoid all non-essential travel, by both private and public transport.
MPs are formally voting on the proposed lockdown measures in Parliament today, but are expected to widely support the proposal, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said is essential to stem the spread of the virus, with new cases and, sadly, deaths, rising rapidly. Meanwhile, Scotland is operating a five-level system of COVID-19 restrictions and Wales is continuing with its two-week ‘circuit break’ lockdown.
Chris added: “These are challenging times for everyone, and the months ahead will no doubt stretch us all to the limit. However, if we work together we are confident that we can emerge much stronger come the Spring, by which time there is hope of a vaccine and better treatments being sorted.
“In the meantime, there is an awful lot that can be achieved with outstanding hygiene and a bit of creativity, and we would urge anyone who could do with some experienced help in finding out-of-the-box solutions to this historic conundrum, to get in touch.
“Our dedicated team will pull out all the stops to either help you continue operating now, or get ready to make the very most of things when you are allowed to open again, hopefully on 2 December.”
If any of the above chimes with you and you could so with a little help from the Elliott’s hygiene experts, don’t hesitate to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01482 327580.