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Construction sites allowed to remain open despite Covid-19 spike and new restrictions

Construction sites have once again been spared restrictions despite the spike in Covid-19 cases around the UK.

The Prime Minister said that construction workers can attend building sites when  other sectors are being advised to work from home to help stop a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Coronavirus infections are currently doubling every week and the announcement of new measures is designed to bring this to a halt. However, Boris Johnson said construction site workers in England would be exempt from an order for people to stay at home where possible.

The Prime Minister said: “In key public services and in all professions where home working is not possible, such as construction or retail, people should continue to attend their workplaces. Construction workers can go to building sites.”

However, office-based staff working for construction firms have been advised where possible to work remotely.

The Prime Minister did not rule out extending the furlough scheme. He said that the restrictions announced today, which included closing pubs and restaurants at 10pm with stiff penalties and fines for breaching new rules, could be in place for up to six months “unless we palpably make progress” in bringing down covid-19 case numbers.

Recognising the importance of the construction sector to the overall recovery of the economy and of the fact that site workers are mainly working outside or in well ventilated areas, it’s the second time that the industry has been spared by the restrictions. Other sectors have been heavily impacted where staff have been urged to work from home or to remain furloughed during the pandemic.

In March, construction sites with social distancing measures were allowed to continue to operate following the prime minister’s announcement of the first lockdown on 23 March, which included the use of police to enforce measures forbidding people from leaving their homes unless it was to buy food or medication.

However, many sites did eventually choose to close due to media pressure and of concerns from their own workers. It is thought that this time around, those concerns will not be nearly as vocal as the media and public grow tired of the continuing restrictions across the board and potentially irreversible damage to the economy.

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