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April 2, 2020

Coronavirus Update

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We have received this update from our governing body, the CAI.

Good morning, I hope this latest update finds you, and yours well.
As we have previously stated, the current pandemic situation remains a fast moving and complicated one.
We wanted to update you on the current situation and where we stand:

  1. It is up to each member company to decide whether or not they can safely carry out work, using the Public Health England guidance, and if they cannot they must stay at home.
  2. The Government has included the following types of worker as among the key worker list: Telecommunications Engineers, Field Engineers and Broadcasters.
  3. Sky are recommencing home visits today. The Government have confirmed that they class their field engineers and call centre staff as Key Workers. They are only carrying out work to keep people connected to TV or Broadband services, they are not carrying out non-essential work, such as Sky Q updates.
  4. We remain concerned that if all members cease all work, other, less skilled or less scrupulous companies will carry out the work, putting consumers – especially the vulnerable who most rely on TV for contact with the world - at increased risk.

It remains the case that the Government believe that citizens do need continued access to Broadband & TV services, for home working, home schooling and to receive news updates, as well as for entertainment at this difficult time. So, we feel we need to advise you to take a common sense approach to work:

  • If the aerial/dish is the only means for that household (including in MDU’s) to receive PSB’s (i.e./ they do not have cable, satellite or the ability to stream news content) then it might be considered critical to restore their service.
  • A broadband service is also critical if anyone is working or learning from home, or if it’s the households only way to receive PSB services.
  • If you’re carrying out either of the above tasks, we would class you as key workers carrying out essential works.

If anyone is symptomatic of the virus in the household then obviously an engineer should stay clear.

If they are not symptomatic then an engineer might attend but observe strict social distancing (2m min.) and strict hand hygiene (hand washing, disposable gloves, anti bacterial wipes for remotes, etc. as previously advised) before and after the visit.

It's an individual choice for members to take a risk judgement on this. They need to balance the risk to everyone and to be able to justify why they are not staying at home. No one should be forced to go to work if they don’t think it’s safe, or morally the right thing to do.

Regarding site work, it seems that the National Government is going to continue insisting that sites can remain open if they can be operated under PHE guidelines, the Scottish Government (and London Mayor, though he has no power over this) disagree and think they should be closed. Many developers are closing sites. As with domestic work, we believe this is a judgement call for every member involved, and members should only work on sites if they believe they can do so safely and are working outdoors. We believe the chancellor should be announcing new measures for the self-employed today, which may well make this decision easier for you.

We continue to engage with all relevant authorities on your behalf, but hope this advice is useful.

Please stay well and safe, and do the right thing for yourselves, staff, suppliers and customers.

Kind regards
North West Aerials