Coronavirus Advice For Salons
We’ve been bombarded with news about the Coronavirus for weeks, and since Covid-19 has now hit the UK, we want to provide you with the most up-to-date information as to help keep your staff and clients safe inside your salons.
What Is It?
Coronavirus (now known as COVID-19) is a type of virus, which can generally cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms including coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath.
UK Risk Level
“UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. This does not mean we think the risk to individuals in the UK has changed at this stage, but that the government should plan for all eventualities,” – Public Health England.
As of 9am 5 March 2020, a total of 18,083 people have been tested of which 17,968 were confirmed negative. 115 were confirmed positive. Public Health England updates this figure at 2pm every day here.
Minimising The Risk
Public Health England states, “Everyone must help to reduce the spread of viruses in the following ways:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment”.
What Should Employers Do?
Mini Setty, a partner in employment law at Langleys Solicitors, a leading UK business, insurance and personal law firm, explores the common issues that arise from such outbreaks.
What Health And Safety Duties Do Employers Have?
“Employers have a duty to take reasonable care of its employees’ health and safety in the workplace. This obligation means that employers must ensure that the workplace is safe for employees to work in”.
In the current coronavirus pandemic, Langleys Solicitors recommends employers:
- Send guidance to staff on the best ways to stop the spread of the virus.
- Provide tissues and hand sanitisers for staff to use.
- Monitor whether work-trips to areas hit by the virus should proceed.
- Ensure that anyone who comes back from an infected area does not come in to work if they are symptomatic.
- Consider the safety issues of ‘high risk’ individuals such as the older people, those with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women.
Employees Stuck Abroad – What Should Employers Do?
“If an employee on a work trip is stuck abroad then employers should consider whether employees can continue to work remotely and if so, they should be paid as normal. If working remotely is not a possibility then employers will need to consider whether to grant leave as: unpaid, sick leave or paid. This involves considering any contractual rights and policies that may be in place at the employer”.
Employees Returning From High-Risk Areas – What Are The Options?
For those returning from high-risk areas, Public Health England (PHE) states:
“If you have returned from these specific areas since February 19, you should call NHS 111 and stay indoors and avoid contact with other people even if you do not have symptoms:
- Specific lockdown areas in the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Northern Italy as designated by the Government of Italy
- Daegu or Cheongdo in South Korea
- Hubei province (returned in the past 14 days)
If you have returned from these areas since February 19th and develop symptoms, however mild, you should stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately and call NHS 111:
- Northern Italy (defined as North of Pisa but not including Pisa, Florence and Rimini)
If you have a cough, or fever or shortness of breath and have visited any of the following areas in the last 14 days, stay indoors and call NHS 111 informing them of your recent travel to the city.”
- Republic of Korea
- Hong Kong
Employers should treat such employees as being off sick and pay according to their normal rules on sick pay. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has explained that workers will get statutory sick pay from the first day off work, not the fourth, to help contain coronavirus. Those receiving statutory sick pay would get an extra £40. In order to receive statutory sick pay (SSP) people must be earning at least £118 a week.
Can Employers Stop Employees From Going Abroad During The Outbreak?
“Employers must act reasonably in their dealings and if employees wish to travel to areas where flights are still being run as normal, it will be difficult to justify imposing a blanket travel ban. To do so will risk employees becoming secretive about their holiday plans and employers could also face adverse publicity and even claims as set out below. It is best to express the employer’s concerns and agree a strategy with the employee to minimise risks to them and other employees,” Mini Setty.
Legal Implications Of Getting It Wrong
“Where an employer overacts or goes against the current guideline outlined by the PHE, it could face claims of constructive dismissal or even race discrimination (harassment and/or indirect discrimination and/or direct race discrimination),” – Mini Setty.
Salon Business will aim to keep you informed with the latest salon related news, but as this is a rapidly changing situation, we also advise you to keep looking at the GOV.UK and the PHE blog for the latest developments.