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Statutory Residence Test – COVID-19 update

The latest on how the Simmons Gainsford Group is managing the impact of COVID-19

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown is eased, we recognise that our Firm, where possible, needs to return to normal operations and adapt to new ways of working where required.

These adaptations have been informed by our COVID-19 risk assessment, which can be found here for our London office and here for our Uckfield office.

Returning to the office

There will be a limited number of personnel in our office locations to ensure that our staff can work safely and effectively whilst maintaining social distancing.

Priority will be given to those who are unable to work comfortably and/or efficiently at home. Those of us who can work from home, will continue to do so.

Those with serious underlying health conditions who have been advised to shield against coronavirus should continue to do so for the duration of their shielding period. Those in other vulnerable groups, such as pregnant personnel and those aged 70 or over, are being consulted individually about potential adaptations to their role.

If any of our staff or someone they live with has coronavirus symptoms:

They are advised not to attend work and to self-isolate in accordance with the current Government guidance.

Travel to and from work

Ultimately, it is up to our staff should they choose to use public transport. We are encouraging our personnel to minimise their use of public transport, by walking or cycling where possible.

Currently, only people from a household or support bubble can travel together in a vehicle. Unless pre-authorised by a partner, the Firm will not be liable for any direct or ancillary travel costs to the office.

For those using public transport, we are encouraging them to pay heed to the government guidelines about social distancing and avoid touching surfaces. It is now mandatory to wear face masks on public transport. Personnel using public transport may find it helpful to refer to the current Government guidance and also how to wear and make a cloth face covering.

For those who choose to make their own face mask, it is their responsibility to ensure that it is appropriate and fits properly. Our staff are advised to was their hands thoroughly when they arrive at work, using the handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers provided. They should also wash our hands thoroughly as soon as they get home from work.

Hygiene and cleanliness

To reduce the risk of infection spread, we will be introducing the measures set out in our Covid-19 Risk Assessment and following the Government guidance in working safely during COVID-19.

Hand sanitisers will be placed at entrances and exits, and at all photocopier/printer stations.
One of the benefits of working remotely has been the dramatic reduction of paper use so we aim to continue working paper-free as possible.
Posters will be visible to provide regular reminders to all staff to maintain hygiene standards.

While we are taking these stringent additional measures, our staff are all reminded to:

Wash their hands regularly and thoroughly during the day.
Avoid touching their face, particularly eyes, nose and mouth.
If coughing or sneezing, to make sure it’s into a tissue (or arm if a tissue isn’t available) and remember to throw away the tissue safely.

Social distancing measures

While at work, our staff must all maintain social distancing in accordance with government guidelines. To assist with social distancing, the following measures have been introduced:

Floor markings where applicable to help us maintain social distancing.
Working back to back or side to side (rather than face to face) where possible.
Introducing one-way systems to reduce instances of personnel having to pass each other in close proximity.
Only one person at any given time in bathrooms, the post-room, stationery area, filing area etc.
Hot desking has been removed.

Meetings

Attendees at meetings will be restricted to a maximum of 3 people.
The Partner/Manager attending the meeting will be the only person opening/closing the meeting room door.
There will be no coffee/tea facilities for meetings. Individual water bottles will be provided to clients.

As part of our social-distancing measures, we will endeavour to conduct meetings remotely where possible. When physical meetings are necessary:

Only essential participants should attend the meeting.
Meetings to be kept as short as possible.
Social distancing to be maintained throughout.
Objects such as stationery should not be shared.
Meetings to be held in a well-ventilated room.
Hand sanitisers provided in meeting rooms and areas where meetings frequently take place.

Visitors

To reduce the risk of infection spread, we have introduced the following measures based on our COVID-19 risk assessment and the Government guidance:

Restricting the number of visitors allowed in at any one time, bearing in mind the space available and the need to maintain social distancing.
Introducing screens at reception areas to separate staff from visitors.
Providing clear guidance to visitors to our premises, such as delivery workers,
Changing delivery patterns, for example ordering supplies less often but in larger quantities.

Attending client premises

To reduce the risk of infection, we have introduced the following measures:

Prior to any visit, clients will be required to complete and return our Client COVID-19 questionnaire.
Staff are advised to wipe down surfaces, handles etc. before and after use with sanitiser if using client kitchens.
Staff are also encouraged to use a reusable water bottle.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Currently, in line with our COVID-19 risk assessment, the use of additional PPE (such as face masks) is not required as an infection-control measure while at work. They are, as stated above, mandatory on public transport.

The use of a face covering is not a replacement for observing our social distancing guidelines.

These measures will be updated in line with any government changes. We will keep you updated of any further changes, but in the meantime, should you have any specific concerns, please contact your engagement/relationship partner, ideally by email in the first instance.

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