/ March 23-24 Government list of essential business

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Blue Straggler 00:14 Tue

Hopefully this should save some time and stop threads getting clogged up with “what about bike shops? What about pet shops?” etc.

It is likely to change daily hence putting a date in the thread title https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874732/230320_-_Revised_guidance_note_-_finalVF.pdf

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Donotello 00:49 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

That doesn’t cover any of the online sector. A bbc news article states online retail business will remain active. 
 

That link doesn’t mention it at all. 

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Blue Straggler 01:04 Tue
In reply to Donotello:

No it doesn’t. Aside from “delivery services” which is a bit vague but which could reasonably be taken to include “online”

There are various other omissions and ambiguities but it’s hopefully still a helpful starting point OP

Post edited at 01:06
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girlymonkey 05:24 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Bike shops are in there twice! Does that mean I can cycle twice a day?! 😜

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Mick B 06:44 Tue
In reply to Donotello:

 "Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery service will run as normal."

Does this cover what you're asking?

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stp 06:53 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Seems like it's going to be quite messy.

DIY is deemed an essential business but Toolstation is closed, most Screwfix shops are open limited hours and online orders only. B&Q is closed temporarily while they figure out what to do. And Wickes appears to be open (or maybe not updated their web site yet).

Interestingly Screwfix has shut a handful stores because of staff shortages, presumably the staff have virus symptoms.

Post edited at 06:54
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Doug 07:38 Tue
In reply to stp:

Here in France (& I suspect also in Spain & Italy), online comerce is still open in theory but apparently Amazon have decided to only process orders for what they consider essential goods, while the post is a reduced service due to so many staff being ill - so even if online commerce is allowed it might well still be very reduced if the same happens in the UK

edit - just seen in another thread that Needlesports have decided to shut their online business so that's a UK example as well

Post edited at 07:51
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wercat 09:09 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

can you tell me why bicycle shops are repeated?

it's a silly document amateurishly put together - you can't proscribe businesses with "notable exceptions".  You need a definitive and authoritative list.

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wercat 09:11 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

and as a further point "notable exceptions" does not include Building societies - much needed if you want cash.  If they close we cannot pay rent

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wercat 09:13 Tue
In reply to girlymonkey:

it is a shoddy document put together by someone with no legal knowledge but being foisted on us as law.  2 marks out of 10

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MG 09:17 Tue
In reply to wercat:

More a document put together in a great rush under very difficult circumstances.  Expecting perfection, or even normal quality is totally unrealistic.  We all need to deal with the need to be accommodating of the speed things are moving.

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mondite 09:39 Tue
In reply to MG:

>   We all need to deal with the need to be accommodating of the speed things are moving.

No we really dont. This is stuff which they could have started planning at the time Italy announced its lock down (or go back further for other countries) and had ready to go.

Indeed that was roughly the claim being made about having further measures ready if necessary.

Post edited at 09:39
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off-duty 09:39 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I think this is an awful situation, and as much as many people in the thread are criticising the document we aren't going to be able to "lawyer" our way out of this pandemic.

There's already lots on social media, pushing at loopholes and fuzzy definitions, but gain this is not a legal crisis. This is a health crisis.

The best analogy I've heard is that you have to imagine you've got it. You are a walking ball of virus particles with a 4% fatality rate.

Do you consider the importance of what you are doing to supersede the risk that what you've got will kill people.

Oh sorry, did I direct that at "you"? I meant the other 100,000 people you share your community with...

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wercat 10:02 Tue
In reply to MG:

I understand what you say but that simply isn't acceptable or useful.  We need clarity, particularly now.  Just as the government has had months to prepare NHS supplies of protective equipment since the initial reports from China showing how serious this was.  Instaid of concentratiing on Brexit early this year we should have been preparing and planning, not making it up as we go along.

The shortage of PPE is a damning failure of this government whatever we think about their advice to the public.

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Tricky Dicky 10:04 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

No mention of construction and building sites................

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Myr 10:15 Tue
In reply to off-duty:

There are two key problems with the vagueness of the advice given today and yesterday.

Firstly, after last weekend, the government must realise that they need to be totally prescriptive about what is and isn't acceptable, if they are to make the changes they actually want in people's behaviour. 

The vagueness also mean that people have to choose between an immediate large financial crisis and a police fine. For example, as it stands, we have a short list of retail businesses that are closed, but for all other lines of employment the government have left it up to individuals - or rather their employers - themselves to decide whether their work is or isn't essential. In reality this leaves people facing a high probability of the sack if they don't go into work, or a low probability of a fine if they do.

Another example is that removal companies and van hire companies are still operating, but people in one house and due to move into another cannot complete the move (not one of the four essential movements), leaving them locked in to paying rent/mortgage and utilities in two properties and, again, choosing between being able to afford food to survive or making a movement that might spread coronavirus.

If even just one person in government had spent the last 2 weeks (or 3 months since the outbreak began - anyone doing horizon scanning?) working on a plan for a lockdown, then the document would have been more complete and balanced than this.

I think later this week we will go into a tighter lockdown because this advice turned out to still force (for fear of imminent financial danger) millions of people to continue virus-spreading behaviour.

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In reply to mondite:

> >   We all need to deal with the need to be accommodating of the speed things are moving.

> No we really dont. This is stuff which they could have started planning at the time Italy announced its lock down (or go back further for other countries) and had ready to go.

Hello mondite. You have precisely nailed this on the head. 

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wercat 10:25 Tue
In reply to off-duty:

I understand your point.  It is precisely because of lack of precision and clarity in the document and in Johnson's address last night that it enables people "lawyering out" of compliance.  In a difficult situation we need clear communications.

Personally I am treating this as if it is a biological weapon and I am exercising my imagination in trying to avoid ways of infection and infecting.  And yet there are people who don't even understand the difference betwen handwashing on entry to a house and traipsing up to the bathroom or into the kitchen to wash hands as if placing the internal external interface with the world deep in the home is equivalent to having it near the entrance.   That a parcel handed to you by a delivery driver who may or not have snotty hands or a cough should not go on the kitchen table.  etc etc etc.   When people do not understand those risks that can be minimised in the home we need clarity from the authorities, not "examples" that can be mentally expanded to what we want them to include.

Surely that advice shound not be being made up now but should have been part of contingency or emergency planning to be executed now, not dreamed up on the spur.

Boris is a journalist full of waffle.

Perhaps the address should have been given by someone like the MOD spokesman giving details of ships lost during the Falklands

Far more precision was shown by Jeremy Hunt during the debates yesterday.

Post edited at 10:28
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Rob Exile Ward 10:32 Tue
In reply to off-duty:

I have to say I only feel I am starting to get a handle on how serious this all is now - and to a certain extent I DO blame the government for the casual and cavalier attitude that we've entered this phase. It was only on Friday that Johnson was so unprepared he thought visiting his Mum on Mother's day  (and presumably the rest of us doing likewise) was OK...

Two messages it seems to me that aren't getting across. 1) If we could all isolate ourselves 100% then the pandemic would peter out in days. It doesn't spread like a miasma. Well we can't, but the closer we get to that objective the quicker this will pass. 2) I've had the impression that this disease was a gentle killer, like pneumonia 'the old man's friend', just wafting those at the end of their lives into the never never. I suspect it wasn't an old man who dreamed up that phrase; it probably wasn't true then, and even less so about this. Like having concrete in you lungs, someone has said... And of course, that will be in an overcrowded ward, limited care, no visiting,  most basic needs unmet... Let alone needing hospital for some other medical reason and there not being capacity... 

In the 80s HIV was the big scare, and the government put out some pretty horrific ads to emphasise the seriousness. Shouldn't they be putting out clips now of people dying, overcrowded wards, children being made orphans... just to get across the seriousness of this? After all, most of us - so far - don't have any direct experience of this disease, and maybe our imaginations are too limited?

Post edited at 10:50
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In reply to wercat:

> I understand your point.  It is precisely because of lack of precision and clarity in the document and in Johnson's address last night that it enables people "lawyering out" of compliance.  In a difficult situation we need clear communications.

> Personally I am treating this as if it is a biological weapon and I am exercising my imagination in trying to avoid ways of infection and infecting.  And yet there are people who don't even understand the difference betwen handwashing on entry to a house and traipsing up to the bathroom or into the kitchen to wash hands as if placing the internal external interface with the world deep in the home is equivalent to having it near the entrance.   That a parcel handed to you by a delivery driver who may or not have snotty hands or a cough should not go on the kitchen table.  etc etc etc.   When people do not understand those risks that can be minimised in the home we need clarity from the authorities, not "examples" that can be mentally expanded to what we want them to include.

> Surely that advice shound not be being made up now but should have been part of contingency or emergency planning to be executed now, not dreamed up on the spur.

> Boris is a journalist full of waffle.

> Perhaps the address should have been given by someone like the MOD spokesman giving details of ships lost during the Falklands

> Far more precision was shown by Jeremy Hunt during the debates yesterday.

We live in a terrace house with two gates serving entry for the four gardens/back doors which we all use for entry into our homes.

I've tied the gates back and requested to the neighbours to leave them. Since one of our neighbours had her in-laws around yesterday, it explains the puzzled looks I got when I made my request.

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wercat 10:38 Tue
In reply to Myr:

it makes me think that someone burnt everything we used to know about civil defence.  Perhaps explains why S Korea, in a continuous confrontation with the N, is doing well.

If we thought of the virus as radiological threat I'm sure people would have been more scared.

Post edited at 10:38
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stevieb 10:43 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I think the main message from yesterday’s speech, is a complete close down of leisure activities. 
Essential work is so much harder to define. The NHS has over 30000 suppliers. Therefore, many of them could quite rightly argue they are essential. The banks, police etc will also have huge numbers. So jobs like manufacturing components or IT infrastructure can rightly claim to be essential. 

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Timmd 10:46 Tue
In reply to mondite:

> >   We all need to deal with the need to be accommodating of the speed things are moving.

> No we really dont. This is stuff which they could have started planning at the time Italy announced its lock down (or go back further for other countries) and had ready to go.

That would have been ideal, but it didn't happen, which means 'we are where we are' in needing to act collectively in the way we're being asked to. So yes we really do, you might say.

I've probably seen the same thing which offduty has on social media, to do with acting as if we already have it and don't want to spread it.

Post edited at 10:50
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wercat 10:47 Tue
In reply to stevieb:

I'd prefer to call it "leisure facilities" as it is at facilities that people meet and intermingle.

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stevieb 10:54 Tue
In reply to wercat:

> I'd prefer to call it "leisure facilities" as it is at facilities that people meet and intermingle.

Happy to go with that too. 
But the key point is not to get too prescriptive on essential work. Some will employers will clearly try to take advantage of vagueness, but there are plenty of workers and employers who can (semi-) justify their work. 

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neilh 11:22 Tue
In reply to stevieb:

My business ( machines)has been instructed to "Stay Open" as we supply to the defence sector.

We also have customers in the medical sector.

So we are staying open as usual.

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Pete Pozman 14:33 Tue
In reply to wercat:

  "Instaid of concentratiing on Brexit early this year we should have been preparing and planning, not making it up as we go along."

Why not? We were making up Brexit as we went along. That seems to be the modus operandi these days.

The trouble is we've relinquished our ability to do things properly by letting weirdos and misfits take control. Maybe, now, when people see it matters, we'll learn...

Post edited at 14:33
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In reply to Tricky Dicky:

In Scotland, the First Minister said today construction sites should close.
 

She also said self employed gardeners and window cleaners would be allowed to work provided they could meets social distancing rules etc., and there were others businesses on a case by case basis exempt from closure for operational reasons (a steel works was mentioned subject to minimal staffing requirements).

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WaterMonkey 15:31 Tue
In reply to neilh:

> My business ( machines)has been instructed to "Stay Open" as we supply to the defence sector.

> We also have customers in the medical sector.

> So we are staying open as usual.

Same here, I work in a paper mill that supplies paper to make cardboard boxes to package food in. 
Today we have had a 500Kw motor blow up on us, It's impossible to stay 2m away from fellow workers when trying to change that!

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Blue Straggler 17:15 Tue

Maybe a very naive question but how does one prove that one is working is an essential business, if challenged by police whilst (say) travelling to work? 

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girlymonkey 17:25 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I presume police are not stopping people yet, and when they do I guess employers will need to issue a letter or badge or some sort of proof

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nikoid 17:38 Tue
In reply to girlymonkey:

My wife said her friend was stopped today by the police and asked where she was going, so it is happening.

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girlymonkey 17:47 Tue
In reply to nikoid:

Wow! Did she have some sort of proof? Or were they happy to take her word for it?

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nikoid 18:23 Tue
In reply to girlymonkey:

I've just asked my wife, of course I wasn't listening when she first told me! She said her friend was taking cheques to the bank, something to do with the WI. The copper just said OK but go straight home afterwards. 

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BruceM 18:25 Tue
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

As for window cleaning and gardening: How essential are either of those two jobs!

Makes a mockery of the rest of up holed up inside when they are out getting as much exercise as they want.

All those threads about non essential travel to go for a hill run or walk or whatever, when Joe window-cleaner is blasting around town in his van so he can wipe some smears off someone's glassy view.

I agree with those above that it is all pretty poorly thought up and will get a lot of folk annoyed.

I thought we were all in this together -- to stop moving about unless you were a medic or food supply person or whatever.  So we can slow this thing down and save some lives.  Obviously clean windows are critical.

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mondite 18:51 Tue
In reply to BruceM:

> As for window cleaning and gardening: How essential are either of those two jobs!

Well they are mostly self employed and so since the tories havent got round to supporting that category yet might be they have decided its easier to let them keep being paid.

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girlymonkey 19:05 Tue
In reply to BruceM:

They are also not coming into contact with anyone so no problem.

It's not about being "fair". Yes, it sucks not being allowed to get into the mountains and do what we normally do, but it doesn't mean everyone else has to sit still in solidarity. If some people can keep working and keep the economy flowing, even if it is non-essential, then why not?

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David Riley 19:11 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I like that bike shops are on the list, right or wrong.  I'm not a cyclist.  But it makes you think people have agonized over the inclusions and exclusions based on real logical merit., not mindless instant opinion.

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JimbotheScot 19:16 Tue

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52022417

What a difference not even 24hrs makes

Get back to work plebs, keep Britain running

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Rob Parsons 19:25 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> Maybe a very naive question but how does one prove that one is working is an essential business, if challenged by police whilst (say) travelling to work? 


If it came to that currently you would simply give an honest verbal account, and invite the police to phone your place of work in order to confirm. Other countries in similar positions have already introduced paperwork; it feels unlikely (to me) that that will happen here, but of course it could.

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wercat 19:26 Tue
In reply to JimbotheScot:

Actually I think this is what Borees meant last night.  If you listen to the intonation of that instruction I think it can strongly be argued that he was not using a strong logical "and" between essential work and not being able to work from home.  I've always been interested in expression and language and to me it sounded like a careless use of "and" which is often confused with "or" by non-logicians.  Let's not forget he is a journalist turned politician and not a lawyer and churns stuff out quickly sometimes.

I thought he meant that it was essential to your job that you could not work from home.  However, the lack of clarity would have been embarassing and various people have been interpreting the unclear word of the king since he said it in the least embarassing way till now.

Don't forget his school report didn't say he worked hard to gain expected privileges but that he expected to be privileged - so, in other words, though he claims to love language and the classics, it does not mean he has worked hard to be a grammarian.

Post edited at 19:30
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Blue Straggler 19:29 Tue
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> If it came to that currently you would simply give an honest verbal account, and invite the police to phone your place of work in order to confirm.

Ooh blimey if that were me, I wouldn't have a handy number to give them; I work for a big corporation but I work very much in isolation, I don't even really know who the important people are in the local HQ. I guess I should put a couple of numbers into my phone! My manager is in the USA!

> Other countries in similar positions have already introduced paperwork; it feels unlikely (to me) that that will happen here, but of course it could.

Why does paperwork here feel unlikely to you? Genuine question!

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wercat 19:31 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

the great British tradition of "having a chit" for something!

probably Indian army slang

Post edited at 19:32
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olddirtydoggy 20:14 Tue
In reply to JimbotheScot:

> What a difference not even 24hrs makes

> Get back to work plebs, keep Britain running

I just read this now and cant believe that's just gone out. I shut down my business today after the speech yesterday as I thought operating wasn't in the spirit of what was being asked of us. Now we're being told that if we can't work at home then it's ok to go back out. I'm well aware Boris said this last night but the feeling I got was stay at home and shut shop. I just don't think this has gone far enough looking at what has happened everywhere else in Europe. Have I got this wrong?

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BruceM 20:50 Tue
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Exactly.  That was my point about window cleaners above.  Mixed messages all around.

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wercat 21:01 Tue
In reply to BruceM:

my wife was stood down from work today and she thinks it was because of last night.  future uncertain

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wercat 21:02 Tue
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

the damage done by shoddy communication

come on disliker give me one!

Post edited at 21:02
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Rob Parsons 21:05 Tue
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> Why does paperwork here feel unlikely to you? Genuine question!

Simply because it's not really the 'British way.' But we should be prepared for anything necessary to happen.

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kirsten 21:23 Tue
In reply to girlymonkey:

We were given letters today saying we were considered key workers in anticipation they will be needed at some point when out and about... 

Post edited at 21:24
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