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Cold Chain Federation considers governmental advice

Cold Chain Federation Chief Executive Shane Brennan provides an update on COVID-19.

With the UK Prime Minister beginning the process of a gradual release from lockdown in England, businesses working across borders between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland need to be aware of the divergence of advice and rules from the different governments.

Test, track and trace

  • Cold chain businesses should now be familiar with the routes and processes to getting tests for key worker employees.   
  • A major operations area to start considering relates to the Government’s Tracker app:  businesses will need to start working on their policies related to employees downloading the app, and managing staff absence when they have been notified by the app to selfisolate. Cold chain businesses should also consider practical aspects of how the app would work in their workplaces – for example if phones are generally put in locker rooms rather than kept on individuals, this could distort the results. We would expect guidance for businesses from Government soon, but we recommend starting to consider these aspects early.

Furlough scheme

  • This has been extended to the end of July but it remains the case that Government will need to end the furlough scheme as quickly as is realistically possible.
  • After the end of July, we can expect the scheme to start ramping down, with the furlough scheme still available but employers will need to start making a contribution towards the 80% payment. It is not yet clear what proportion employers will pay. It is also expected that Government will start to allow part time working within furlough, so that employers could come back for a percentage of their normal hours, with Government then topping up their pay to 80%.

Transport policy

  • The Cold Chain Federation continues to work with freight transport and haulage associations to set out to Government the industry’s concerns about road allocation policies, particularly around the importance of ensuring any changes made now don’t hamper the operations of hauliers as activity picks up.
  • 14 day quarantines do not apply to freight. More clarity is needed from Government on whether cold chain specialists such as engineers travelling internationally to work on specialist equipment, will need to quarantine.

Safe working guidance

  • Of the detailed guidance released by Government on Monday this week, three are particularly relevant for the cold chain: factories/plants/warehouses; offices; and vehicles.
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