There was a time not long ago when only the most essential employees physically headed off to work.

During the national lockdown a large number of us were on furlough and the vast majority of the rest worked from home.

Since lockdown measures eased more and more of us have been going back to the workplace.

But now Hull and the East Riding have moved to the “high risk” Tier 2 as coronavirus cases soar and hospital admissions increase.

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It means a ban on people meeting anyone outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting. This includes both home and indoor public places such as pubs and restaurants.

It also means an end to the current 'rule of six' in all indoor settings and there is also a limit of no more than six people meeting in a group outside, including gardens and other open spaces.

The decision for Hull and the East Riding to move into Tier 2 from 12.01am on Saturday

What does that mean for those of us heading to work?

The bottom line is we can all still go to work so long as the premises are Covid secure although those who can work from home should.

This means colleagues can work together even though they may not be in the same household so long as they socially distance, etc. The rule of six also doesn’t apply in the work place.

The Government guidance says: “To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.

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“Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.

“Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work.

“There is no limit to the group size when you are meeting or gathering for work purposes, but workplaces should be set up to meet the COVID-secure guidelines.”

Even those who may have been shielding at one time can still go to the workplace if there is no other option.

The Government guidance says: “Those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable can go to work as long as the workplace is Covid secure, but should carry on working from home wherever possible.

Workers wearing masks and separated by a screen
Workers wearing masks and separated by a screen

What about travelling between tiers?

You can also travel to a Tier 1 area from Tier 2 for work if they cannot work from home effectively.

However, employers and employees should now consider carefully whether this is strictly necessary, especially as the government guidance is that those in Tier 2 should not travel on public transport, where possible.

Can we have work meetings with customers and clients?

Customers, clients and others from Tier 2 can continue to attend work premises for meetings in line with current procedures. However, employers should consider whether those meetings are reasonably necessary for work.

But boozy networking lunches with someone living in Tier 2 will risk breaking the rules.

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Employees can also continue to meet customers and clients in a Tier 2 area where it is reasonably necessary for work. However, employers should consider carefully the need for any contact outside an obvious work meeting. Lunch with a customer or client may not fall within the exemption so is best avoided.

While you may be able to hang around with colleagues at work all day you cannot then go out with them socially in a pub or restaurant in a Tier 2 area or if you live in a Tier 2 area.