Boris Johnson has announced a nationwide lockdown to try and slow down the spread of Coronavirus, but construction sites are to stay open…for now.
Johnson addressed the nation last night ordering people to stay at home and told nonessential shop owners to immediately close their stores.
He said people will only be allowed to leave their homes for a handful of reasons including “traveling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.”
However, the Prime Minister didn’t make it clear for the millions of construction workers who are unable to work at home. A total confusion meltdown ensued amongst the industry last night. With many government ministers giving conflicting advice for construction.
One social media user said: “It says you have to social distance at work but how can ya do that if your on-site, we work literally right next to each other?”
In a bid to give clarity to the situation The Construction Leadership Council and Build UK have this morning briefed the industry. They have stated, “There has been no specific instruction to shut construction sites.”
The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is meeting this morning; however, it is not a regulatory or enforcement body with the power to instruct sites to close.
CLC Co-Chair Andy Mitchell says: “We are in exceptional circumstances, and doing our utmost to keep construction sites operational wherever it is practical and safe to do so. Whilst the guidance from Public Health England may change in future, for the time being construction sites of any size that are operating during the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic need to ensure they are protecting their workforce and minimising the risk of spread of infection.
“To implement the Government’s social distancing recommendation the Construction Leadership Council has now published Site Operating Procedures. I would strongly recommend that these procedures are implemented by every operational construction site, with the aim of us having a standard approach across the industry that all firms and workers can adopt.
“It is also vital that the health and safety requirements of any construction activity must not be compromised at this time. If an activity cannot be undertaken safely due to a lack of suitably qualified personnel being available, or social distancing being implemented, it should not take place. We are aware that emergency services are also under great pressure and may not be in a position to respond as quickly as usual.”