As prime minister Boris Johnson confirms the move to Plan B, the guidance states that people must work from home, where possible. So, who classifies as a key worker and will still need to go to their workplace?
Image: Getty Images)
Following rising cases of the highly transmittable Omicron Covid variant and growing concerns for the NHS, Boris Johnson announced that Plan B restrictions would be introduced from Monday, December 13, 2021.
During a press conference on Wednesday, December 8, the prime minister advised that from Monday, employees should work from home “if they can”.
In addition to the recent rules on mandatory face masks, another measure that is being introduced under Plan B Covid is mandatory NHS Covid passports for places such as nightclubs and indoor events.
The alternative to showing your NHS Covid pass at events and nightclubs is that you’ll now also be able to show a negative lateral flow test, instead.
With the new rules in place, we’ve got a full list of everyone the government deems as a key, or essential, worker that will be exempt from working from home under Plan B.
Who is classified as a key or essential worker under government guidelines?
Key workers in the UK are those who are essential for keeping the country running in a range of areas, including in healthcare and education.
The government’s coronavirus guidance, in early 2021, outlined the following areas and roles as essential workers.
Health and Social care
The government guidance states that this stretches across roles such as:
Additionally, it comprises “those working as part of the health and social care supply chain”. This includes producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.
Education and childcare
The following workers in education and childcare will still need to go to work, unless instructed otherwise:
- support and teaching staff
- social workers
- specialist education professionals who must remain active during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response to deliver this approach
Key public services
Areas including journalism and the justice system also fall under the key worker category, with government guidance listing the following roles:
- those essential to the running of the justice system
- religious staff
- charities and workers delivering key frontline services
- those responsible for the management of the deceased
- journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting
Local and national government
This only includes administrative occupations essential for delivering:
- the coronavirus (COVID-19) response
- essential public services, such as the payment of benefits and the certification or checking of goods for import and export (including animal products, animals, plants and food), including in government agencies and arms length bodies
Food and other necessary goods
Workers offering the following skills will be able to attend work:
- sale and delivery
- as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)
Public safety and national security
From police to fire services, this includes:
- police and support staff
- Ministry of Defence civilians
- contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
- fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
- National Crime Agency staff
- those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas
Transport and border
Government guidance states: “This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response”.
- those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass
- those constructing or supporting the operation of critical transport
- border infrastructure through which supply chains pass.
Utilities, communication and financial services
- staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
- the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
- information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the coronavirus (COVID-19) response
- key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services)
- postal services and delivery
- payments providers
- waste disposal sectors