From 29th March, at Step 1B of the Roadmap out of lockdown, people will no longer be legally required to stay at home, meaning people will no longer be legally required to undertake their volunteer role from home unless they cannot reasonably do so. From this date forward, people should continue to volunteer from home where possible and they can leave home to volunteer if they are not required to self-isolate for any reason.
· People can meet in groups of any size, indoors or outdoors, while volunteering.
· Volunteering which cannot be done from home can continue in closed business or venue while it remains closed to the public.
· Businesses/venues, community centres and libraries which are otherwise required to close or restrict their activities are permitted to open and be used, including by volunteers, for a number of specific purposes only.
· Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs and holiday lets, which are otherwise ordered to close, are permitted to open for people who need to stay for volunteering purposes.
As ever, people should follow social distancing guidance while volunteering outside the home, or COVID-secure guidance if in a workplace. While travelling to volunteer or while volunteering, people should follow safer travel guidance.
Changes in advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people (1st April)
From 1st April, clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield. Like everyone else, people in this group should volunteer from home where possible. They can also choose to volunteer outside the home. However, they’re advised to take extra steps to keep themselves safe. This includes minimising:
the number of social interactions they have
the time they spend in places where they can’t maintain social distancing
Call for evidence: COVID-19 status certification review
The government is seeking views on the role of Covid status certification in the UK’s recovery from the pandemic, particularly from organisations and individuals with relevant expertise as well as those it would impact.
COVID-19 status certification involves using testing or vaccination data to confirm in different settings that people have a lower risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others.
The review, led by the Cabinet Office, is considering the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of a possible certification scheme, and what limits, if any, should be placed on organisations using certification. The Government has committed to concluding this review ahead of Step 4 out of lockdown, which will happen no earlier than 21 June.
The government has published:
· a call for evidence to ensure that the review considers a broad range of interests and concerns
· the Terms of Reference for the COVID-status certification review. The Terms of Reference document sets out, in broad terms, the objectives and scope of the review, and also the timetable for reporting.
Alongside this, DCMS are also working with the Cabinet Office to try to ensure the interests of volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations are included in consideration of certification. *The deadline for this is Monday 29 March, it is only open for 2 weeks*
Organisations who wish to order rapid lateral flow test kits to undertake testing of their staff and volunteers who cannot work from home
All charities can now register directly on GOV.UK to order free coronavirus rapid lateral flow tests to carry out regular asymptomatic testing of their staff, including volunteers, who cannot work from home. This is provided they are registered in England and their staff cannot work from home. Organisations must register on or before 31st March. This is a change from the previous setup where charities without Companies House registration numbers had to email DHSC directly.