Lockdown 2: UK construction & manufacturing can remain open

Prime Minister Boris Johnson named construction and manufacturing as among the sectors which can remain operating during England's second pandemic lockdown, in his address on Saturday 31 October 2020.

Running for four weeks from 5 November, the new lockdown will close 'non-essential' retail and much of the leisure and entertainment sector.

The move mirrors those seen in other UK nations, like Wales' 'firebreak lockdown', already underway and running until Monday 9 November.

Johnson said: "Workplaces should stay open where people can’t work from home – for example in the construction or manufacturing sectors."

Many fasteners, tools and related businesses, merchants and distributors remained open during the first Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year, many contributing to key Covid-fighting projects like construction of Nightingale hospitals and supplying parts for ventilators.

The official guidance went on to state: "To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where people cannot do so (for instance people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing) they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting vital sectors and employers."

"Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

"Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect."

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) confirmed the 'essential' status of construction and manufacturing businesses, including builders merchants.

"The Prime Minister has explicitly said that construction and manufacturing should continue. The latest Government guidance has reiterated this, and that workers in these industries should continue to travel to work and attend their workplace, including where this involves working in other people’s homes. We all understand the need to keep providing and maintaining the houses, hospitals, electricity, water and all the other vital infrastructure that people depend on, and we all understand the need to keep construction workers employed and keeping the economy going, for now and for the future recovery."

The CLC continued to outline guidance on how the construction industry can operate safely adhering to social distancing measures.