Wales to introduce 2-metre law to protect workers

Employers in Wales will be breaking the law from next week if they do not make sure that staff are able to maintain the 2-metre physical distancing rule.

The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, said the regulations would come into force on Monday or Tuesday next week and fresh guidance would be issued to make sure that employers understood what was being expected of them.

The GMB union welcomed the move and called on the UK government to follow suit.

Dan Shears, GMB health, safety and environment director, said many employers had so far ignored the rule. “Those companies will now need to fall into line or fear the consequences.”

He added: “Where the job of work does mean being closer than 2 metres – nursing, care, education, undertaking to name a few – the guidance will need to give clear principles on how this can be safely done by employers carrying out full risk assessments, identifying the correct PPE [protective personal equipment] and ensuring that it’s given.”

Robert Lloyd Griffiths, of the Institute of Directors Wales, said: “Employers should be doing what they can to help stop the spread of the virus.” But he added: “It’s important firms have the support and clear guidance in place to put these rules into practice.”

The TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We welcome the action from the Welsh government to improve protection of workers through social distancing. The UK national government must make sure that all UK workers have proper protection, if businesses remain open they must apply the guidelines that have been issued by Public Health England.”

We will update you with any further details as and when we receive them.