Latest News Updates on COVID-19
COVID TESTING FOR ALL KEY WORKERS IN ESSENTIAL UTILITY SECTOR SERVICES
We can confirm Covid-19 testing capacity in England has now been extended to all key workers and their households with symptoms. We can confirm that workers delivering essential services in the utilities sector, which encompasses heat, are now eligible for testing. The Government’s guidance remains that tradespeople entering home’s should only be undertaking essential repairs and maintenance. No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild. Those with symptoms that need to return to work to undertake essential activity in the heat sector must get tested before doing so.
More information, and the option to self-refer for a test, is available online at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
BEAMA has been working with BEIS to ensure the expansion of the new test capacity can reach essential services in our sector. The new guidance has also raised a number of key questions, and in particular around the necessity and eligibility for installers to obtain tests. BEAMA has sought clarifications direct from Government which we publish below to help companies understand their eligibility for testing.
1. Installers of equipment into a variety of building types have for the first time been included in the professions able to apply for Covid 19 tests.
2. However, the situations outlined are very restricted:
a) includes those providing maintenance services for essential utilities provisions in homes and buildings. Particularly those who may come in contact with those in vulnerable groups.
b) This means workers in the heating sector, for example, delivering essential activity are eligible for testing, where they or members of their household have symptoms of Covid-19.
c) This definition applies for the purposes of childcare provision and testing for those workers self-isolating only and is not an indication in itself of whether someone is able to continue to work or whether a business should remain open.
3. The Government asks businesses to take a pragmatic approach to the prioritisation and identification of essential work and maintenance activity using their knowledge and expertise of the sector they operate in.
4. The current guidance does not extend to the manufacturing part of the supply chain. This may change as the capacity of testing increases over the next few weeks.
5. There is no requirement to undergo testing in order to carry out household work and installers who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 or a household member with symptoms should carry on installation work with suitable social distancing precautions.
BEAMA continues to support our community of members during the COVID-19 crisis. If you have any questions and would like to contact BEAMA please email us at [email protected]
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) – JOB RETENTION SCHEME
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open for applications. Employers can claim online for a grant for 80% of their furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee per month. Click here to make a claim.
To receive payment by 30 April, you will need to complete an application by the end of 22 April (today) as it can take 6 working days from making an application to receive the money. Please keep a note or print-out of your claim reference number as you won’t receive a confirmation SMS or email.
ENERGY MINISTER ANNOUNCES TESTING FOR CRITICAL ENERGY WORKERS
In England, testing has been implemented to the energy sector workers at Critical National Infrastructure sites. This was communicated to the relevant stations.
- These tests are antigen tests, and are reserved for critical workers and those self-isolating because they or a family/household has symptoms.
- BEIS continues to work towards getting testing rolled out to the further energy industry.
This testing scheme does allow for those based in Wales to attend a test centre in England, if they can access it in line with Government advice (not travelling long distances).
Wales will be making testing available to energy companies also, and BEIS is working with the Welsh Government to understand their process and how soon this can be rolled out.
For more information on testing please visit the official government site which lists all those being prioritised for testing. HERE.
FIND CORONAVIRUS FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Government has launched a new support finder tool for businesses to try and streamline the process: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder
BEAMA continues to support our community of members in maintaining critical industry operations at this time, and planning for a staged recovery when appropriate. For more information on business guidance from government and our activities to support member companies please visit the BEAMA website here, or email [email protected]