In an open letter to industry in April, Business Secretary Alok Sharma reiterated that there are no restrictions on manufacturing under the current guidelines for COVID-19.
The minister praised the role of manufacturers in supporting the country through the current crisis and emphasised the need to keep supply chains moving wherever possible:
“Manufacturing is a critical part of our economy and I would like to be clear that there is no restriction on manufacturing continuing under the current rules. Guidelines from Public Health England provide best practice advice on how this can be done safely.
“Many across aerospace, chemical, automotive, steel, aluminium, pharmaceutical, packaging and other sectors, including those providing essential services and materials, have answered the call to action and are playing a direct role in combatting COVID-19 by producing the material we need to fight the spread of the virus. It is vital that we ensure that servicing, parts and raw materials are available to keep vehicles and services on the road and operating.”
Under current guidelines, those who cannot work from home and have to travel to work can continue to do so, and factories can continue operating providing that they follow good practice on hand-washing and social distancing.
Guidance on how to operate safely in a factory environment includes preventing staff from working face-to-face with each other and assigning staff to the same shift teams to limit social interaction.
The letter added:
“I, my fellow Ministers in BEIS and the department’s officials, are in regular contact with industry leaders and the Trade Associations representing businesses operating across the economy to monitor the effect of COVID-19 on industry and its workforce, and this close working will continue. I am fully committed to continuing to engage through the coming days, weeks and beyond to ensure that we can support our manufacturing sectors.”
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