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Phase 2 of the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business begins on Monday, June 8th.
However, the Government has today announced accelerated changes to the Roadmap that you need to be aware of, regardless of whether you’ve already reopened or are planning to do so on Monday.
All retail outlets have been cleared to reopen on Monday, June 8th. Furthermore, the last phase of the Roadmap for Reopening has been brought forward, meaning there will now be only 4 Phases, with the final phase ending on August 10th.
This means, as things stand, that the economy will fully reopen three weeks earlier than expected. While this is great news for all businesses, it’s still important to reopen in line with Government advice and the mandatory health & safety measures set out in the Return to Work Protocol.
In summary, the changes the Government has introduced include:
- Extending the part payment of salaries under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme until August 31st. A loophole that excluded employees on maternity or adoptive leave has also been closed.
- Allowing all retail outlets to reopen on Monday, June 8th.
- Allowing shopping centres to re-open from June 15th provided only shops open and measures are taken to ensure people do not congregate at benches, fountains, or food courts.
- Extending the payment of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment until August 10th. From June 29th, part-time workers will receive a €203 Pandemic Unemployment Payment if their earnings were less than €200 per week prior to the lockdown measures being introduced. Where workers had earned €200 or more from their employer prior to the lockdown, the €350 payment will continue to apply.
- Easing travel restrictions allowing people to travel 20km or within their own county (whichever is greater) from June 8th.
Preventative measures in your business
If you reopen on Monday, June 8th, it’s advised to introduce preventative measures to your workplace.
First and foremost, it’s vital to comply with the Return to Work Safely Protocol. You will have to consult with staff on the measures you propose to take. The two main measures to focus on include appointing a Lead Worker Representative who will be your liaison with staff and putting a COVID-19 response plan in place.
The most important steps to implement are physical distancing along with hand and respiratory hygiene. These steps will help reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.
The below measures are the most important to adopt to reduce the spread of the virus.
Employees will need to be provided with proper facilities to practice good hand hygiene. You will need to instruct employees on how to do this effectively. Posters will also need to be displayed in appropriate areas to remind employees of the practice.
Tissues and bins to dispose of used tissues in will need to be provided and emptied regularly. This will help maintain healthy workplace hygiene. You should also provide instruction on good respiratory etiquette to all employees.
Physical distancing could be the greatest challenge you face when returning to work. If office work is absolutely essential for your business, you must comply with the two-metre physical distancing requirement.
If you find you’re unable to put a two-metre separation between employees, you may have to put physical barriers in place. It would also be wise to hold meetings remotely and stagger shifts to comply with physical distancing requirements.