Coronavirus Update 24/03/2020
As we have previously stated, the current pandemic situation remains a fast moving and complicated one.
Our previous advice has been based on several factors. Domestically we knew that the Government didn’t want citizens to be without TV if possible. They were especially aware that many of the highest risk group, who were told to stay at home for 12 weeks, were least able to cope without TV services for news updates and for entertainment, especially those living on their own. We were also conscious that many of those people would refuse to live without their TV service for any length of time, and if CAI members were not working they could well end up being taken advantage of by less ethical and scrupulous parts of the trade, or other trades, receiving a poor service and probably paying too much for it. Lastly we were aware that the Government told Sky that as Telecommunications Field Engineers working in the broadcast industry their SHS field staff did qualify as Key Workers, so the same could apply to CAI Members.
From a commercial work perspective it’s also complicated, especially as the different nations of the UK aren’t necessarily following the same rules. So far sites have not been forced to close, although in Scotland they have announced they will be. The government has again repeated this morning that in England work on construction sites, in the open air, should continue. We know many of our members are self-employed, and feel they need to go to work to be able to afford to live. We, like them, really hope the Government announce further financial protection for them very soon, in order that staying at home becomes an affordable option.
The Government, while telling us all to stay at home, have still said that going to work is acceptable if it’s essential. They have not clarified exactly what jobs are essential. They are, and have been, 100% clear that whenever possible you should be at home.
We are urgently trying to get clarity from the Government this morning. Whether they still believe that people should not be without a TV service, and therefore, with the correct precautions, members should still service those customers who are without reception, and any further updates for sites and commercial work beyond what’s already been announced. Many others will also be looking for information – from mechanics who could be working on a NHS employee’s car, to builders, plumbers and electricians so we fear we will not get a very speedy response, but we will do everything we can to get some clarity as soon as possible.
Unfortunately it is therefore impossible to give any definite advice, except to stay at home while we try to obtain further information. Even if you think you are carrying out an essential service, it doesn’t mean you should leave home without further guidance. We know that although they believe they are classed as key workers, Sky field engineers are pausing all home visits this morning while they review the situation, and also talk to the Government particularly regarding vulnerable customers who lose all viewing service.
These are unprecedented times, we continue to try to serve our members to our fullest ability, but please bear in mind we can only pass on the information we obtain, we cannot legally set policy itself in these areas. We sincerely hope you and yours stay safe and well.