Parliament: Coronavirus

House of Commons Commission written question – answered on 18th May 2020.

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Photo of Douglas Chapman Douglas Chapman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Small Business, Enterprise and Innovation)

To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, what plans the Commission has to ensure that safe social distancing due to the covid-19 outbreak takes place on the Parliamentary Estate should the House return to a purely physical Parliament after the Whit recess.

Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee

The House Service is enforcing social distancing rules in and out of the Chamber. The updated government guidance sets out the steps employers must take to become ‘COVID-19 secure’ workplaces. For Parliament, this includes publishing risk assessments and outlining the measures in place to protect those working on the estate. Measures have been introduced to promote social distancing on the estate, including installing physical barriers and signage, and staggering shift and break times. The parliamentary authorities are continuing to work through the government advice to ensure a comprehensive set of measures are in place to enable a wider return to work on the estate after the Whitsun recess.

The House Service is currently working in conjunction with Public Health England to ensure we meet the government guidelines to become a ‘COVID-19 secure’ workplace, and to build on our existing measures to ensure all those working on the estate can do so safely. The Commission will be meeting to ensure that the appropriate level of services and safety measures are in place, should there be a return to physical-only proceedings after the Whitsun recess.

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