Where we are now
The First Minister announced that Scotland would be entering a lockdown on 23 March 2020. Under law, the Scottish Government must review that lockdown at least every three weeks. The Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making – Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis, was published on 21 May and sets out the phases by which we will aim to ease lockdown. They are gradual and incremental and will be matched with careful monitoring of the virus. As part of Phase 2 arrangements the Scottish Government confirmed that non-essential manufacturing could resume from 29 June.
Physical distancing duties are set out in regulation 4(1) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. A person who is responsible for carrying on a business or providing a service must take all reasonable measures:
- to ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any persons on the premises (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)
- to ensure that they only admit people to its premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance
- to ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any person waiting to enter the premises (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)
Manufacturing is vital to the Scottish economy, accounting for over 180,000 jobs and contributing over half of Scottish exports and business expenditure on research and development. The work of Scotland's manufacturers and their workforces that are, and have been, involved in supporting essential sectors throughout this COVID-19 crises demonstrates the sector's innovation, skills and expertise. Manufacturing's commitment to keeping the country running is hugely appreciated, with particular praise due to companies who have scaled-up or repurposed to manufacture vital supplies for the health sector.
We want a strong manufacturing sector to help drive Scotland's economic recovery and future prosperity. Companies should therefore use this guidance to continue to inform engagement with trade union or workforce representatives to further develop and maintain workplace specific plans as the sector moves into restarting, allowing sufficient time for that joint work. Plans should be fully developed, with measures put in place and tested where possible. They should have been implemented upon restart. Decisions on the phasing of a sector wide return for manufacturing have been made in line with the Route Map.
The Scottish Government has initiated a broad collaborative process to develop sectoral guidance which will underpin that managed transition and provide clarity and confidence to industry, employees and local communities, protect public health and concurrently optimise economic recovery. Aligned with that we continue to review and enhance testing and enforcement arrangements, and ensuring that the guidance is coherent and connected, recognising for example transport and other inter-dependencies.
We are working with the UK Government to align our approach and guidance, where possible and on the basis of scientific evidence on the levels of infection in Scotland. This guidance is intended to work alongside UK Government guidance and aims to assist employers, businesses and their workforce ensure a safe working environment and readers will recognise consistent themes within this guidance with the UK Government’s Working Safely during Covid-19 publications.
This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Scottish Government’s business and physical distancing guidance, which still applies.
There has been an unprecedented package of support announced from both the Scottish and UK Governments to support businesses which includes retailers. This support should help many employers preserve their business, maintain jobs and pay their workers throughout this crisis. Information on this support is available through findbusinesssupport.gov.scot. We urge all businesses to make use of this. In the event of closures for manufacturing premises all available support measures must be utilised to protect the jobs and incomes of workers.
Advanced Manufacturing Policy Team