The new restrictions will likely affect those delivering FM services.
As Facilitate went to press, businesses were preparing for tier 2 and tier 3 lockdown restrictions, with sectors including hospitality fearful of how the restrictions could affect them. Some in the sector had been preparing legal action against the government as experts predicted 750,000 jobs could be lost in hospitality by February because of the restrictions. But chancellor Rishi Sunak swooped in with an announcement that hospitality and leisure businesses in tier 2 areas can receive cash grants of up to £2,100 a month, available for every month if a business is in tier 2.
This was part of a series of measures introduced “in recognition of the challenging times ahead” as the chancellor spoke of “increasing support through the existing Job Support and self-employed schemes, and expanding business grants to support companies in high-alert level areas”.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the body representing the broad hospitality sector, UKHospitality, said: “Huge and very welcome intervention by Chancellor – JSS scheme evolves significantly to reflect changed circumstances. Sees employer minimum hours of at least 20 per cent and top up of 5 per cent (down from 55 per cent previously). Just saved hundreds of thousands of jobs in hospitality and supply chain.”
Others pointed out how the new restrictions meant occupancy of larger buildings was likely to drop to below 10 per cent, putting the onus on security guards to look after them.
Theo Nicolaou, managing director of SmartSec Solutions, told Facilitate: “The level of footfall coming through our London-based corporate buildings has been low for several months. Many of our larger buildings have been operating at approximately 10-15 per cent of maximum occupancy. With these new restrictions, don’t be surprised to see this drop even further.”
Nicolaou said this would mean security officers “displaying immense resilience: travelling on public transport to manage low-occupied buildings can be a lonely existence and requires a positive and strong mindset.”
Figures released in June by the Office for National Statistics showed that there were more security officer deaths through Covid-19 than in any other profession at 74.0 per 100,000 or 104 deaths.
The importance of cleaning
Mark Hazelwood, director of cleaning software specialist Clenetix, said “the more restrictions are imposed, the more fear and anxiety is rising” but pointed out that “it was important for businesses to look at the welfare of workers” at this time. Hazelwood added: “The intensity of this duty of care will rise as infection rates increase and we see more lockdown measures as we move into winter. “Robust cleaning regimes are more important than ever as we approach winter. The pressure of providing a safe environment increases as Covid risks heighten across the UK. The responsibility being placed on cleaning teams has never been greater.”