Coronavirus questions: What is a key worker and can I still go to work?



Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced new measures in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Among the new rules are that social gatherings of more than two people are now banned and non essential shops are now closed.

The lockdown means that people can only leave their home under very limited circumstances – such as a medical need, to provide care for a vulnerable person, to buy essential groceries and to exercise, but only once a day.

Mr Johnson also added that you can go to work – but only if your job is ‘absolutely necessary and you cannot work from home.

He also listed a number of key workers – but what is a key worker and can you still go to work?

  • Health and social care workers  – including (but not limited to) doctors, nurses, midwives and paramedics, as well as those those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment
  • Key public services  – including those involved in running the justice system, religious staff, charity workers, journalists and those responsible for managing the deceased
  • Education and childcare  – including teaching staff and social workers
  • Transport  – those who keep the air, rail, water and road networks running, including those running transport networks for the supply chain of goods
  • Local and national government  – this only includes those who are essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response, and those involved with key services, such as the payment of benefits
  • Food and other necessary goods  – those involved in the production, sale or distribution of food or hygiene products, or veterinary medicine
  • Public safety and national security  – this includes police and support staff, armed forces, certain Ministry of Defence employees, fire and rescue, prison and probation staff, National Crime Agency and border force
  • Utilities, financial and communication services  – including (but not limited to) those who work in essential financial services, gas, electricity, water or sewerage, telecommunications (including 999 and 111 services), postal services and delivery, waste disposal, information technology and data infrastructure, civil nuclear or chemicals

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If you are not sure whether you are classed as a ‘key worker’, you should contact your boss, or HR department at your place of work.

Even if you’re a key worker, if it’s possible for you to work from home you should do so and you should only travel to work when it’s your only option.





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