What to do if someone becomes ill with coronavirus at work

You've reopened your business with strict social distancing in place. You've done everything you can to keep your staff safe. But then comes a call one morning to say one colleague who was working is now reporting coronavirus symptoms. What should you do?

ACAS gives the following advice:
If someone has coronavirus symptoms at work
If someone becomes unwell in the workplace with coronavirus symptoms, they should:

  • tell their employer immediately and go home
  • avoid touching anything
  • cough or sneeze into a tissue and put it in a bin, or if they do not have tissues, cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow
  • use a separate bathroom from others, if possible

If the unwell person lives alone, they must self-isolate for 7 days. If they live with others and is the first to have symptoms, they must self-isolate for 7 days. Everyone else in their household must self-isolate for 14 days.

If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms, the person with the new symptoms must self-isolate for 7 days. This is regardless of where they are in the 14-day isolation period.

You can get more advice or help:

It’s best for the unwell person to use their own mobile phone or computer to access these services.

If someone with coronavirus comes to work

 If someone with coronavirus comes to work, the workplace does not necessarily have to close, but they should follow cleaning advice.

See advice for cleaning workplaces on GOV.UK.

There is also an excellent article here about how to act quickly, compassionately and sensitively as a manager and how to handle the communications with staff so that nobody panics.

If you haven't faced this scenario already, you probably will over the coming months. We hope you find this information useful. If you have other tips to share with GAI members, please let us know!