London moves into Tier 3 system from 16 December: what does this mean for employers?

3 mins

Posted on 15 Dec 2020

London will move into Tier 3: Very High Alert from 16 December.  What difference will this make to businesses in the capital? 

No change for most businesses 

For most businesses, there will be no change. The rules around going to work remain the same. People should work from home if they can, but if they cannot work from home they can still go to work. Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable may go to work if they cannot work from home, although if they are concerned about going to work, they should discuss whether they can do an alternative role or change their working pattern to reduce their risk.

Workplaces that remain open must be Covid-secure and follow the Covid-19 secure guidelines.

The Tier 3 rules on mixing indoors are the same as for Tier 2. Although people from different households are not allowed to mix indoors, these rules do not prevent attendance at work as the regulations permit gatherings which are “reasonably necessary” for work purposes. If meetings take place in the workplace, the Covid-19 secure guidelines must be followed. Meals to socialise with work colleagues are not permitted.

Certain businesses must now close

Certain businesses must now close, including hospitality (except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect services), hotels and some entertainment venues and visitor attractions.  However, the list is nowhere near as wide-ranging as during previous periods of full lockdown. Both essential and non-essential retail may remain, along with gyms and sports facilities, hairdresser, barbers, beauty salons and other close contact services.  Further information on which businesses are allowed to open/must now close can be found here.  

Travel to work

Although there are restrictions on travelling in and out of Tier 3 areas, these do not apply where travel is necessary for work.  So employees living in a Tier 2 area are able to travel to and from a Tier 3 area where this is necessary for work purposes.  

What about client meetings?

Again, the rules have not changed as a result of London moving up a tier. Meetings in offices can continue to take place for work purposes, taking into account Covid-19 implemented procedures and permitted travel in and out of higher risk areas, provided that the meeting is “reasonably necessary”. As such, internal work and client meetings can still take place in-person in Covid-secure offices, if they are reasonably necessary. Employers will therefore need to assess whether the meeting is reasonably necessary for work purposes.

Are other areas affected?

Along with London, certain parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will also be moving up to Tier 3. The full list of local restriction tiers by area can be found here.  

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

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