London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has today written to its membership, reminding them of the Government’s coronavirus guidance and the need for the capital to ‘engage with the spirit of the new restrictions not just the letter.’
The message from Chief Executive, Richard Burge, says:
At the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), my colleagues and I are receiving many messages from company owners, directors and senior managers wrestling with decisions about whether they should stay open and if their work is essential. Sole traders and the self-employed have told us that they are facing the same questions and I hope what I have to say is useful for anyone whom it remains a real concern. LCCI is a business with nearly 100 employees at three locations in London so I am faced with exactly the same questions.
This is how I suggest that you approach your decision:
- Make sure you engage with the spirit of the new restrictions not just the letter.
- If you are on the list of business and premises that should close, then do not hesitate, close them now.
- We are trying to keep the economy going as we prioritise the provision, maintenance, and support of essential services. Does the whole, part or any of your firm do either of those things? This is about you as the business leader applying your judgement in the interest of London, your employees, and the country, not the personal and financial interests of you or your shareholders. No number of rules can replace the quality of your judgement, provided you make it honestly.
- Any part of your business that is not essential, or which can be carried out remotely should be stopped unless you can operate it from employees’ homes while they follow the social distancing requirements. If that cannot be done, then you should stop the activity.
- The only staff who should travel to work are those whose physical presence is essential to you undertaking your essential business activity. You should establish a single senior manager who has overall authority for who is at work and when.
- Organise the work so that you preserve the social distancing regulations. Enforce the 2m distance at work, and put in place very high levels of sanitation and cleaning.
- For London in particular; make provision for staff to travel to work by bike or car on their own. If not, adjust the working hours so they are not travelling on public transport during the peak hours. The use of public transport must be a major concern for those of us in London. Keep alert to any changes in policy and regulations, and respond to them immediately. Give your staff a letter from you explaining why it is essential that they travel to work. They are hardly likely to be asked to show the letter, but it provides them with re-assurance that you are in charge and taking responsibility.
- Review this every day and every time the rules change. Be prepared to stop instantly.
I hope this is helpful and pragmatic. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further advice and experiences we can relay to fellow members and businesses.
Please don't forget your Sector Account Manager continues to be on hand to offer business support services, including profile raising, facilitated introductions online and access to business information. A reminder of your Sector Account Manager's contact details can be found here.
For further comment or interview:
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