The fit-out industry has welcomed the UK Government announcement that in England from the 4 July the two-metre social distancing rule is to be relaxed and replaced with one-metre-plus guidance. The move offers a lifeline for the fit-out sector where firms are finding it almost impossible to operate profitably under the existing guidelines.
The one-metre-plus approach will mean that people can be one metre away from each other as long as other measures are put in place to limit the transmission of the coronavirus. Measures include; wearing face coverings, installing screens and facing away from other people.
FIS CEO Iain McIlwee, said: “This measure is less targeted at construction and more at the fact that from July 4, the hospitality sector will start to re-open. That said, we now need to review our own guidance – with only 12% of our members able to operate profitably under the existing Site Operating Procedures. This announcement could have a huge impact on productivity and be a vital lifeline.
“Our understanding is that the CLC site operating procedures will be reviewed in context and if possible a new version will be published to support consistent interpretation of these changes.”
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that new guidance will be published on how businesses can reduce the risk by taking certain steps to protect workers and customers. These include, for instance, avoiding face-to-face seating by changing office layouts, reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, improving ventilation, using protective screens and face coverings, closing non-essential social spaces, providing hand sanitiser and changing shift patterns so that staff work in set teams.
The administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland hold responsibility for their own lockdown restrictions and they will respond in due course.