Q1016: Can I work during the Coronavirus emergency if I am not a keyworker ?
During the 'emergency period', a person must not leave, or remain away from, their home without reasonable excuse.
Your home includes any garden, yard, passage, stair, garage, outhouse etc. – you can still go outside to access those areas of your property.
The reasonable excuses listed in the legislation include leaving your home to work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible to work from home or provide those services from the place you are living. See Q1014 for a list of reasonable excuses.
The exceptions above are not limited to keyworkers, however where possible, the social distancing rules should be followed.
In Wales it is a requirement for certain businesses to take all reasonable measures to adhere to social distancing, for example:
- cafes or canteens in hospitals, care homes, school, prison or military establishment or those used to provide food and rink to homeless persons,
- holiday accommodation that is permitted to remain open under the law,
- any part of shop that would otherwise be closed but can remain open for orders online and for click and collect.
If you cannot work from home and you have been asked to return to work, you are allowed to do so. It is your employer's decision whether to keep the business running (although there are some businesses that have to close - see Q999). If your workplace is open, but you are concerned about going to work and/or the social distancing measures in place at your workplace, you should speak to your employer about your options.
If you are self employed, you can choose to continue working if you wish, although we would only advise you do so if you can work safely and within the social distancing rules so as not to put yourself and others at risk. Where you are required to go to work, it is important to:
- Keep your distance from people outside your household
- Keep your hands and face as clean as possible
- Avoid being face to face with people from outside your household
- Reduce the number of people you spend time with in a work setting, where you can
- Whilst travelling to work, think about how and when you travel
- Wash your clothes regularly
- Keep indoor places well ventilated
- Wear a face covering in enclosed places where social distancing isn't possible
- Wear a face covering in places where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet (such as on public transport)
The Government has issued additional guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how they are able to return to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance covers the following sectors:
- Construction and other outdoor work
- Factories, plants and warehouses
- Labs and research facilities
- Offices and contact centres
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
- Shops and branches
A link to this guidance in full may be found in 'related links'.
The 'emergency period began on 26th March 2020. An end date has not yet been specified, but this is being reviewed at least every 21 days.