Last updated: 14th December 2021
As COVID-19 continues to affect our lives, it’s still incredibly important that we all work together to stay safe and healthy. Here is the latest government advice brought together with our top tips to help you protect yourself and any tradespeople carrying out work for you.
Country-specific coronavirus rules
As we respond to the new risks posed by the Omicron Covid variant, the Prime Minister has confirmed a move to ‘Plan B‘ restrictions.
At Rated People, we’re making sure you are kept up to date on all the latest rules and guidance set out by the government so you and your family can stay safe as you continue to have work done in your home.
Plan B guidance: Construction and other outdoor work
Most legal restrictions regarding work being conducted in your home have been lifted in England since 19th July 2021, meaning tradespeople can carry out work in your home if you, they, and everyone in both of your households are well and have no coronavirus symptoms.
The tradesperson should also follow the COVID-Secure guidance for businesses where possible, including leaving doors open to let fresh air in and limiting the number of workers within a confined space. Daily lateral flow testing is also being urged, particularly for those entering a high-risk setting, where people will be present who you wouldn’t normally meet.
This guidance was updated by the government on 12th December 2021.
On the 19th July 2021, Scotland moved to protection level 0. This means that tradespeople can carry out work in your home as long as you, they and everyone in both of your households are well and have no coronavirus symptoms.
With the emergence of the new Covid variant, Omicron, as of the 10th of December 2021, the Scottish government has updated their guidance for businesses and workplaces. The Scottish government website states that: “employees and employers need to strengthen compliance with current protections and make an extra effort to do so from now through the festive period and into January”.
The tradesperson must follow the guidance on working in homes safely. This includes wearing a face covering, keeping reasonable distance from individuals in a household and taking daily lateral flow test if mixing with other people. See the updated guidance on ‘precautionary measures’.
From August 7th, 2021, Wales is at alert level 0, meaning “there are no legal limits on the number of people who can meet, including in private homes, public places or at events. In addition, all businesses and premises may be open”.
Tradespeople can carry out work in your home, as long as it can be done safely and they, you and your respective households are well and have no coronavirus symptoms. A tradesperson must also follow all the reasonable measures and the guidance on working in other people’s homes.
The government has recommended that no work is carried out in a household where someone is isolating, unless it is to repair a fault or to carry out an adaptation to allow you to stay in your property. If this is the case, additional precautions should be taken to keep both you and the tradesperson completely separate from each other. Public Health Wales can advise you in these specific cases.
Hiring a tradesperson safely during the coronavirus pandemic
Try to cut down on unnecessary face-to-face contact as much as possible – we’ve advised our tradespeople to do the same. You can do this by:
- Sending a photo or video of the problem that needs fixing to the tradesperson. Many tradespeople have let us know that they’re happy to use these to provide an accurate quote, just remember to send as much detail as you can alongside them.
- Being supportive if the tradesperson needs to reschedule your appointment because they’ve developed coronavirus symptoms, like:
– Runny nose
– Sore throat
– Persistent cough
- Our Protected Payments service is a useful way to pay for work without needing to meet in person, plus your money is protected should the job be delayed – find out more about Protected Payments.
Once you’ve hired a tradesperson, you should keep in contact with them throughout the process. Let them know if you or anyone in your household is ill – the tradesperson should do the same so work can be rescheduled if needed. You can send messages to them using our Chat feature, which you can access within our Rated People Homes app or through our website. Read more about it on our Homeowner help page.
The shielding programme has now ended in England. This means that people who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) will not be advised to shield in the future or follow specific national guidance.
Preparing for a job
There are steps that you can take to create a safe working environment in your home, such as:
- Keeping in touch with the tradesperson. Let them know if you’re part of a more vulnerable group, for example you’re elderly or pregnant, so that they can put any additional protective measures in place before visiting you.
- Not allowing work to go ahead if you, or anyone in your household, displays any symptoms of coronavirus.
- Agree how the work will be done safely before the tradesperson arrives.
- Clearing the room if necessary. For example, if you’re having a room painted, remove any furniture that could be in the way and take photos down from the walls, if possible. This will reduce the amount of contact that the tradesperson has with your possessions.
- Stocking up on biodegradable/recyclable paper cups and plates for the tradesperson to use.
- Making sure that hand washing facilities are available. Our tradespeople are being very vigilant by washing their hands with soap and water and using hand sanitiser regularly.
We’ve also advised our tradespeople to bring protective products on jobs, such as tissue, hand sanitiser and a plastic bag to dispose of used tissues.
Keeping safe whilst work’s taking place
Whilst the tradesperson’s in your house, it’s important that you:
- Let them know where they can wash their hands as soon as they come into your house.
- Minimise physical contact, for example by avoiding handshakes.
- Although there is not mandatory social distancing in place in the UK, we’d suggest maintaining a distance wherever it’s possible.
- Have the windows open if you can – this helps clean air to keep circulating throughout the room.
What to do after the job’s done
Once your home’s been transformed, it’s a good idea to:
- Disinfect door handles, handrails and any other surfaces.
- Make sure to let the tradesperson know if you develop any symptoms of coronavirus, so they can take the appropriate precautions for themselves and anyone they’re in contact with.
Can tradespeople still work during the coronavirus pandemic?
The government has advised that tradespeople can work in homes as long as they and anyone in their household have no symptoms. They shouldn’t carry out work in households that are self-isolating.
Countries may approach the different phases of lockdown differently. This guidance is in line with the UK government’s advice and is being followed in England. See the specific government websites for any differences.
Can I move home during the coronavirus pandemic?
You can still attend house viewings and estate/letting agents and removal firms can continue to work. However, it is advised that, where available, you take advantage of virtual initial viewings.
|What to do if you feel ill, or someone in your household, or someone you have been in contact with is ill:|
If you or anyone in your household, or someone you have been in close contact with has tested positive for coronavirus, you will need to take a PCR test as soon as possible and self-isolate. You do not need to self-isolate if:
– You’re fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine given by the NHS. But even if you’re double jabbed, you need to take lateral flow test daily for 7 days if you came in contact with someone infected.
– You’re between 5 and 18.5 years old
– You’re taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
– You’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
If you live with or have been in contact with someone who may have the Omicron variant, the above does not apply and you will still need to self-isolate for 10 days. If this is the case, track and trace will contact you. Find out more about when you can stop self-isolation on the NHS website.
Despite these uncertain times, plenty of home improvement projects are still on track! If you’ve got a job that needs doing, and it’s safe for you to do so, hiring a local tradesperson is a great way to support a small business. You can find a tradesperson near you on Rated People.
Note: This guidance is in line with the UK government’s advice and is being followed in England. See the specific government websites for any differences.
Note: View the UK government guidelines on Gov.uk.