New guidance from the government on staying safe outside of your home is now available. This guidance sets out principles that everyone should follow when outside of their house to lower the risk of transmission of the virus.
1. Keep your distance from people outside your householdThis may not always be possible however it is important to be aware that the risk of infection increases the closer you are to another person with the virus, and the amount of time you spend in close contact with them. Therefore, you are unlikely to be infected if you walk past another person in the street. Public Health England recommends trying to keep two metres away from people as a precaution.
2. Keep your hands and face as clean as possibleWash your hands often using soap and water, and dry them thoroughly. Where available, use sanitiser outside your home, especially as you enter a building and after you have had contact with surfaces.Avoid touching your face.
3. Work from home if you canMany people can do most or all of their work from home and your employer should support you to find adjustments to do this. However, not all jobs can be done from home and if your workplace is open and you cannot work from home, you can travel to work.
4. Avoid being face-to-face with people if they are outside your householdYou are at higher risk of being directly exposed to respiratory droplets (released by talking or coughing) when you are within two metres of someone and have face-to-face contact with them. You can lower the risk of infection if you stay side-to-side rather than facing someone.
5. Reduce the number of people you spend time with in a work settingYou can lower the risks of transmission in the workplace by reducing the number of people you come into contact with regularly. Your employer can support with this by changing shift patterns and rotas to match you with the same team each time.
6. Avoid crowdsYou can lower the risks of transmission by reducing the number of people you come into close contact with. For example, avoid peak travel times on public transport, where possible.Businesses should also take reasonable steps to avoid people being gathered together. For example, by allowing the use of more entrances and exits, and staggering entrance and exit, where possible.
7. If you have to travel (for example, to work or school), think about how and when you travelTo reduce demand on the public transport network, you should walk or cycle wherever possible. If you have to use public transport, you should try to avoid peak times.Employers should consider staggering working hours, expanding bicycle storage facilities, providing changing facilities and providing car parking.
8. Wash your clothes regularlyThere is some evidence that the virus can stay on fabrics for a few days, although usually it is shorter. Therefore, if you are working with people outside your household, wash your clothes regularly.Changing clothes in workplaces should only be considered where there is a high risk of infection or there are highly vulnerable people, such as in a care home. If you need to change your clothes, avoid crowding into a changing room.
9. Keep indoor places well ventilatedEvidence suggests that the virus is less likely to be passed on in well-ventilated buildings and outdoors. In good weather, try to leave windows and doors open in areas where people from different households come into contact, or move activity outdoors if you can.
10. Face coveringsIf you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example, on public transport or in some shops. Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with. Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, and/or high temperature, and/or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste – anosmia), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace. Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 2 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose.
11. When at work, follow the advice given to you by your employerEmployers have a duty to assess and manage risks to your safety in the workplace. The government has issued guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus. This includes guidance on how to make adjustments to your workplace to help you maintain social distancing. It also includes guidance on hygiene, as evidence suggests that the virus can exist for up to 72 hours on surfaces. Therefore, frequent cleaning is particularly important for communal surfaces like:door handles; lift buttons; communal areas like bathrooms,kitchens, tea points.
You can read the full guidance for further information here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home.