Latest Advice – 8th July 2021.
Further to the latest announcements by the Government, lockdown restrictions will lift in England from 19th July 2021 and we expect Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to follow soon after. (See below).
We have been given assurances by the Company that nothing will change in a hurry after 19th July and they will not be rushing people back into the office.
BT PERSONNEL – Coronavirus (COVID‑19) Latest
Nationally, the Union has been engaging the company throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes announced by the Government on Monday 5 July 2021 are significant and the effect of the removal of the current legal restrictions with the responsibility to remain safe being pushed to people themselves remains a controversial decision.
The final decision to remove the restrictions will be made on 12 July with the changes being implemented on 19 July. The Government’s own admission with the new Delta variant is that infection rates, hospitalisation and deaths will increase if the restrictions are removed on the 19 July is a significant cause for concern for everyone.
The TUC has published some excellent guidance for Trade Unions and Union representatives. The link copied below gives more detail which Branches may find useful.
Latest Government Guidance
Below is the information published by the home nations with links to the full detail also copied.
Coronavirus (COVID‑19) Latest update – England
The Government’s decision on whether to move to Step 4 on 19th July will be taken on the basis of an assessment of the four tests, including the impact on the NHS, on 12 July.
The Government’s latest COVID-19 Response, (Step 4) summer 2021 Guidance can be found at the link:
In brief there are five stages:
- Reinforce the country’s vaccine wall of defence through booster jabs and driving take up.
- Enable the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws.
- Retain proportionate test, trace and isolate plans in line with international comparators.
- Manage risks at the border and support a global response to reduce the risk of variants emerging globally and entering the UK.
- Retain contingency measures to respond to unexpected events, while accepting that further cases, hospitalisations and deaths will occur as the country learns to live with COVID-19.
Step 3 restrictions remain in place until then. Follow the guidance on what you can and cannot do.
Mainland Scotland and the Scottish islands not already in Level 0 will move to Level 0 on 19 July. Find out https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/
There are 5 COVID-19 Protection Levels (0-4). The rules you have to follow depend on the level for your council area.
We have set out the vaccine milestones we hope to reach over the summer and, based on those, the path we hope to take out of COVID-19 restrictions and back to greater normality in our day to day lives. See our proposed timetable for these changes.
We have set out the vaccine milestones we hope to reach over the summer and, based on those, the path we hope to take out of COVID-19 restrictions and back to greater normality in our day to day lives.
- review of the current levels ahead of planned changes on 19 July
- the whole of Scotland will move to Level 0 if all necessary vaccination and harm reduction measures are met
- physical distancing outdoors will be removed and physical distancing for indoor public places will reduce to 1m if the data allows
- all major COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted if the necessary conditions on vaccination and harm reduction continue
Our Strategic Framework update (June 2021) sets out what a move beyond Level 0 may look like.
You can now choose 2 other households to meet in your home, becoming an extended household. Up to 30 people can meet outside. https://gov.wales/current-restrictions
6 July 2021 Detailed guide
6 July 2021 Policy and strategy
6 July 2021 Collection
6 July 2021 Cabinet statement
In Northern Ireland
Up to 6 people from 2 households can socialise indoors, including for overnight stays and up to 15 people from no more than 3 households can meet in a private garden. https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021
Date published: 01 July 2021
Last updated: 03 July 2021
The Department of Health(a), makes the following Regulations in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 25C(1), (3)(c), (4)(d) and 25F(2) of the Public Health Act (Northern Ireland) 1967(b).
29th June 2021 – ‘Grab a Jab’ – Covid-19 Vaccine Drop-In Centres Open Across England Under Newly Launched Government Initiative For All Over-18’s:
Hundreds of drop-in sites opened over the weekend, with details of the scheme and vaccine drop-in clinics locations posted on the NHS/Gov.UK website.
The new Government/NHS initiative has been launched in a bid to boost the number of people getting jabbed. The ‘Grab a Jab’ campaign means that all adults in England are now able to get a Covid-19 vaccination without an appointment at hundreds of walk-in sites set up for the first time across the country over the weekend, amid rising Covid-19 Delta variant cases.
Those aged 18 and over can turn up at the NHS drop-in sites in the ‘Grab a Jab’ campaign, which include football stadiums, theatres, supermarket car parks and shopping centres. Among the sports grounds involved in the initiative are the Newcastle Eagles basketball arena, Watford FC’s Vicarage Road ground, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, the Spurs football ground and Edgbaston cricket ground.
The vaccine hubs are open to people having their first dose but can also provide second jabs for the over-40s who had their first at least eight weeks ago, or at least 12 weeks ago for the under-40s.
The vaccination clinic sites are being publicised locally via the media, or people can find their nearest site on-line so they can choose the location most convenient for them. Details of all the walk-in clinic locations are available on the NHS website where you simply type in your postcode at this NHS link: – https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-walk-in-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-site/
In addition to mass vaccination centres, there are mobile vaccination centres on special buses offering jabs in Dudley, Colchester, Ipswich and several other towns.
The latest Government figures show that circa 44 million people – 84% of the adult population have received a first dose of a Coronavirus jab and 32 million (or 3 in 5 people) have had two doses. A total of 63 million jabs have been delivered by the NHS (England). The UK is said to be well on the way to the whole country getting the fullest possible protection.
The Government aims to have offered a first dose to all adults by 19 July and to have at least 65% of all adults fully vaccinated by then, the date when the final stage of lockdown easing is scheduled to go ahead, having been postponed from 21 June.
The Government is urging anyone who has yet to take up the offer to head to their nearest walk-in centre to get what could be the life-saving vaccine which is reported to be effective in protecting against the ‘Delta variant’.
Latest Advice – 13th Jan 2021.
BT members should have been briefed on the latest guidance and rules with engaging with fellow workers and the public and how to carry out your work in a safe manner. If you have not been made aware of this new guidance, then your first point of contact should be your line manager.
Openreach specific advice can be found here.
The provision of critical national infrastructure is key to keeping the UK connected and for that reason we are classified as key workers. The Government is clear that as a result, we can continue to go into homes and businesses to undertake essential work, but in a safe manner, following a risk assessment.
- The Engineers risk assessment is the deciding factor on entering a customers premises which is fully supported by BT management.
- Maintain a two meter distance.
- Continue to ask the important screening questions of customers prior to entering premises.
- Talk to customers by phone about access to their promises and the work you need to do.
- Continue to use and act upon your own risk assessments.
- Minimise time in customers premises seeing no customers whilst you do this.
- Ventilate the area you are working in.
- Always wear gloves and a mask.
- Minimise all touch points, wipe and sanitise all surfaces, touch points and equipment, before and afterwards. Touch only NTEs and routers where possible.
- Be respectful of others in exchanges – we strongly encourage you wear a mask, keep your distance and minimise time in our buildings. In Scotland wearing masks in communal areas is a legal requirement.
- Majority of desk teams remain working at home for the next few weeks.
- Check the Covid-19 status of the postcode area you are working in, using the Covid-19 postcode checker
- For the latest advice visit the coronavirus microsite, via the BT Intranet – https://www.yourwellbeing.bt.com/coronavirus.html
REMEMBER: Your safety is our highest priority. If you feel you cannot do the job safely, STOP and call your manager for advice
BT have stated they do expect that over the next few weeks…
“We are likely to see our own workforce impacted as people take time out. People may need special leave or annual leave for various reasons, for example helping vulnerable household members and, or child care issues and we’ll be protecting our vulnerable people as they have to shield again.” Again members should contact their line managers in the first instance, who will work with you locally.
BT have said that they will support all their engineers during this stressful time.
For futher guidence and help at a personal level, please contact one of our branch officers.