4 Mar

Coronavirus: Planning ahead

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to escalate as a global issue and the number of cases in the UK has increased over recent days.

While the main priority is the well being of individuals affected by the virus, there is also a growing impact on business.

As a region renowned for making things and transporting across the world – including China – businesses based in the East Midlands are not immune to this impact.

Some of the ways businesses are being – or have the potential to be – affected include, but are not limited to:

  • Interruptions to the transportation of goods due to shutdowns, especially in China
  • Decreased consumer demand in China and countries most affected by coronavirus
  • Tourism impact due to fewer people travelling both in and out of the UK
  • Potential supply chain impact when importing/exporting

With the potential for a significant outbreak in the UK, businesses of all sizes – whether they are currently trading internationally or not – will also need to plan ahead to mitigate possible disruption.

Below is some information and help from a range of organisations.

East Midlands Chamber has provided some advice and guidance for businesses.

The Chamber would urge businesses to plan in the same manner they would for any uncertainty – much in the same way businesses have safeguarded themselves as much as possible against unknowns relating to Brexit in recent years.

This could take the form of a risk assessment – identifying all supply chain elements and operational activity and making contingency plans where possible to safeguard against disruption. Clearly, this is good business practice irrespective of challenges which may or may not present themselves.

Taking the opportunity to evaluate potential cash flow pressures in the event of disruption is also prudent in order to mitigate against an uncertain trading period.

For further help and updates, the Chamber will be updating information on its website.

ACAS has provided information on its website for both the employer and the employee.

  • Supporting an employee or a member of the public becomes unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19;
  • People returning from travel overseas to affected areas;
  • What to do if a member of staff or the public with suspected COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace;
  • What to do if a member of staff or the public with confirmed COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace;
  • When individuals in the workplace have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

Visit this link for details.

National guidance from the Government has been developed to provide the appropriate response to these enquiries. Guidance for employers and businesses can be found online.

The most important current action for managers is to encourage staff to maintain high levels of personal hygiene in order to protect themselves and others.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze;  NHS Guidance on cough etiquette
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away;
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available: a guide is available here.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

If you are worried about symptoms, please call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environments.

For more information, please contact: admin@llep.org.uk