Two-metre rule could be relaxed in offices with shields or masks, Minister claims

THE TWO-METRE rule could be relaxed in offices with shields or masks, a Minister has claimed.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace today revealed measures could be put in place for staff unable to keep two metres apart.

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Appearing on Sky News, he suggested it could be replaced with other measures to keep people safe.

He said: “You can look at shielding, you can look at how long you stay near people. The two-metre rule reduces the possibility of infection by a certain amount of time.

“If you halve that it still keeps people away from being infected but for a lesser time. The probability of being infected is much less.

“I think there are options about how we can do it. You can wear PPE, that could be a possibility if you have to be in close proximity or indeed you could find other ways of doing it.”

He later told the BBC: "You could be closer than two metres but not for long at all. There are a range of ways to do this.

"And if it's very vital you work next to each other then potentially things like shields that you see in supermarkets, or indeed PPE, is a way forward."

It comes as it emerged canteens would be closed and masks worn in offices under draft Government plans for the new workplace rules.

Brits are facing massive changes when they go back to work as employers are urged to minimise the risk of a second peak.

Restrictions being eased will see companies told to minimise the amount of staff using equipment, stagger shift times and maximise home-working.

The draft strategy also calls for physical screens and the use of protective equipment when staff cannot work two metres from each other.

Staff will also be told to avoid sharing pens and avoid face-to-face meetings.

It comes as the Cabinet prepares for an exit strategy out of the lockdown.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) is said to have been asked to review if people do need to stay two metres apart.

One minister said last week: "We want to get the country back to work and we want to keep probing so we are not missing any opportunities.

"[Ministers have] asked Sage to get us further and better particulars as to how hard and fast that really is. It is important to understand how much reliance has to be placed on it.

“The response genuinely has been led by the science. It is just about understanding exactly what is required and what isn’t.

“This is not about weakening the rules but it is about trying to test if it is actually necessary to be two metres. What is the empirical evidence on this?"



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