Can cleaners go back to work as government eases lockdown restrictions?

Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 4:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 4:08 pm
Can cleaners work during lockdown? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Boris Johnson unveiled plans to ease lockdown restrictions in his speech to the nation on Sunday (10 May), including “actively encouraging” those who cannot work from home to return to work.

But can cleaners work during lockdown?

Here’s what you need to know.

Can cleaners go to work?

There had previously been some confusion about whether cleaners were able to go to work as usual during the lockdown, but the government updated their advice on 4 May.

The advice explains, “You can continue work, providing that you are well and have no symptoms.

“No work should be carried out by a tradesperson, cleaner or nanny who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild, or when someone in their own household has symptoms.”

Can I clean in a household where someone is isolating or shielding?

However, the advice said that no work should be carried out in any household where people are isolating or where an individual is being shielded.

What hygiene advice should cleaners follow at the property they are cleaning?

The advice explains that cleaners should:

-notify all clients in advance of their arrival-wash hands using soap and water for 20 seconds, on entry to the home-wash hands regularly, particularly after blowing nose, sneezing or coughing, and when leaving the property-if facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitiser should be used, and should be carried at all times.

The advice adds: “If you are a tradesperson or cleaner, you should maintain a safe distance (at least 2 metres) from any household occupants at all times, and ensure good ventilation in the area where you are working, including opening the window.”

Cleaning agency Housekeep sent an email to its customers explaining, “The most important point is that cleans must be skipped if either party has coronavirus symptoms, or is in a vulnerable group.

“If everybody in your home is well, you can continue to book your housekeeper as normal.

“We understand that our customers and housekeepers have been concerned about how to ensure cleaning continues safely, so we hope these new government guidelines and precautions provide clarity and reassurance.”

Who can return to work?

As Johnson stated in his speech to the nation, those who work in construction or manufacturing are “actively encouraged” to go to work, as lockdown restrictions are eased in phases.

However, these new rules currently apply to England only.

The government’s 50-page guidance document, Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, states “All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open.

“Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open, for example this includes food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories.

“The only exceptions to this are those workplaces such as hospitality and nonessential retail which during this first step the Government is requiring to remain closed.”

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab clarified on Monday (11 May) that new workplace and public transport guidance for British citizens would not come in until Wednesday (13 May).