Two-metre rule will protect workers in Wales from coronavirus
Written by Gavin on 3rd April 2020
New rules to protect workers during the coronavirus outbreak will come into force on Tuesday morning, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed.
The regulations will mean the 2m social distancing rule will apply to any workplace, including homes, where work and repairs are being undertaken and outdoor spaces. The new rules apply to those workplaces not already covered by the original stay-at-home rules introduced almost two weeks ago
All businesses will have to take all reasonable measures to ensure the 2m rule is maintained between people on their premises whenever work is being carried out. Guidance will be issued to explain what can reasonably be expected of employers and businesses.
The rules about who can attend a funeral are being relaxed but the 2m rule will mean there will be a maximum limit on the number of people who can attend.
First Minister, Mark Drakeford said:
“We have asked people to stay at home, to save lives and protect the NHS. These temporary restrictions on gatherings and the movement of people in Wales are an important part of our efforts to help protect the public from the spread of coronavirus.
“These new regulations will ensure workers are safe in the workplace, by ensuring the social distancing measures we have put in place also apply in all people’s places of work.”
Detailed guidance will be published when the new regulations come into force next week. But many organisations and representative bodies have already published advice about how social distancing can be observed in different environments, including construction and manufacturing.
The new regulations also clarify the arrangements for funerals and crematoriums – people can attend funerals if they are the person who has organised the funeral, if they have been invited to attend or are the carer of a person who is attending a funeral.
But there will be a limit to the number of people who can attend, depending on how many people the venue can accommodate, taking into account the 2m rule.
Everyone attending a funeral should take all reasonable measures to stay 2m away from someone they don’t live with or care for and those responsible for running the crematorium, place of worship or cemetery should make arrangements to maintain the 2m rule.
The guidance on funerals clarifies that cemeteries can remain open but social distancing must be taken into account, as well as the need to take all reasonable measures to maintain the 2m rule at burials.
Local Government Minister Julie James said:
“The death of a family member or friend is a very distressing event which is why we have amended these regulations to enable people to attend funerals in certain circumstances.
“Although people will be able to leave home to attend a funeral during the coronavirus outbreak, we would ask them to understand that we have to place limits on the number of people who can attend a funeral to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“Our advice is that people should only attend the funeral of their closest family and friends and they can only do so if they have been invited. But there are a number of ways wider family and friends can be included, for example by livestreaming the funeral or by arranging a memorial or celebration of life event once the pandemic is over.”
The stay-at-home rules, which were introduced almost two weeks ago mean people should stay at home. They can go out to:
- Shop for basic necessities and supplies, which should be as infrequently as possible
- Exercise once a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of their household
- Get medical attention, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travel to and from work, but only if they cannot reasonably work from home.
People should stay at least 2m away from each other at all times.
Participating in gatherings of more than two people in public spaces is not permitted except in very limited circumstances, for example, where it is for essential work purposes.
If people do not comply with the new laws, the police have powers to enforce them.
- They can be directed to return home or removed from where they are and returned home
- They may have to pay a fixed penalty notice of £30, which if not paid within 14 days will double to £60, and if they are issued with a second or subsequent notice the charge will be £120
- People who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.
- If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them.
In the first instance, the police will always apply common sense and discretion.