Who can work during lockdown? List of key workers

England has entered a national lockdown with the public instructed not to leave the house, except to get basic necessities and limited exercise.

From today, only ‘key workers’ should travel to and from work each day.

To enable them to do this, the same workers will also be able to continue to send their children to school, following the closure of schools across the country.

So, what jobs are deemed essential?

What is a key worker and who is classed as one?

A key worker is defined as a public service employee who is considered to provide an essential service.

The government’s list of key workers includes the following:

  • Health and social care (including, but is not limited to, doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers).
  • Teachers, school support staff, childcare staff, social workers and other specialist educational professionals.
  • Those essential to the running of the justice system.
  • Religious staff.
  • Charities and workers delivering key frontline service.
  • Those responsible for the management of the deceased.
  • Journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.
  • Essential public services and those workers on the Covid-19 response in local and national government.
  • Food processing, production, distribution, sale and delivery workers.
  • Police and support staff.
  • Firefighters.
  • Border security, National Crime Agency staff, contractors and Armed Forces personnel.

  • Transport workers (including those who keep air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport operating during the coronavirus pandemic)
  • Staff needed for essential financial services provision (including, but not limited to, workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure).
  • The oil, gas, electricity and water sectors, including sewerage.
  • Information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the coronavirus response.
  • Key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including, but not limited to, network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services).
  • Postal services and delivery.
  • Payments providers.
  • Waste disposal sectors.

When asked how long this lockdown could last, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said ministers would ‘review the progress that we’ve made’ on 15 February.

He added: ‘We hope that we will be able to progressively lift restrictions after that but what I can’t do is predict – nobody can predict – with accuracy exactly what we will be able to relax and when.

‘What we do know is that the more effective our vaccination programme, the more people who are protected in that way, the easier it will be to lift these restrictions.’

Can cleaners work during lockdown?

Official government guidance states cleaners are still allowed to work in homes in England but should follow the correct social distancing measures.

It states: ‘This guidance applies to those working in, visiting or delivering to home environments.

‘These include, but are not limited to, people working in the following areas: in home workers – such as repair services, fitters, meter readers, plumbers, cleaners, cooks, visiting childcare providers, and surveyors (this is not an exhaustive list).’

Households must comply with the same guidelines as public and private venues, meaning social distancing and increased hygiene measures should be in place.

These restrictions do not apply to live-in cleaners, who should be considered a member of the household they work in.

Cleaners should aim to reduce the amount of time spent in a confined space where possible and dispose of all household waste and and cleaning products on the property if they aren’t going to be reused.

On arrival at the property, cleaners should ‘ensure the household understands that social distancing and hygiene measures that should be followed once work has commenced.’

Cleaners should not enter the home of any person who is self isolating due to having tested positive for coronavirus.

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