Many of you will have seen the latest advice from the UK Government on COVID-19 (coronavirus). This advice relates to social distancing measures to help to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Please be aware that as the situation develops, this advice may change.
In addition to asking individuals displaying symptoms to stay at home, the advice is now that households in which one person is displaying symptoms should all stay at home.
We also need to reduce non-essential social contact particularly for those in vulnerable groups. People have been asked to work from home where possible, limit use of public transport and avoid unnecessary social gatherings.
As we enter this critical new phase in our response to COVID-19 I understand many of you will be concerned about the steps you should take to protect yourself, family and friends.
As an NICS we must continue to deliver our essential work and services to the public.
This remains a developing situation, and it will be necessary to update and amend the guidance as and when the circumstances change. We will make sure the latest and best guidance we can provide is available through NI Direct and the NICS Intranet sites.
So from Wednesday 18 March the following measures will be taken within the NICS applying to all staff and all workplaces:
Frequently asked questions and advice for NICS colleagues and managers are attached and are also available on the intranet. Line managers should bring these to the attention of colleagues who do not have access to the intranet. Please make sure you also look at the latest PHA advice:
In all cases, you should take sensible measures and discuss working arrangements within your business area.
We will need to divert resources to COVID-19 and every department has extensive plans in place, including the working patterns of staff in frontline roles, to ensure we can continue to deliver public services.
Teams across the NICS are already working incredibly hard, pulling together to manage the challenges we face. Over the coming months the NICS, like every organisation, will have to adapt the way we work and this may involve changing colleagues’ roles and at a later stage calling some people back into work. This means following the official advice while managing higher than average levels of absence.
Please speak to your line manager if you have any concerns.
We have an extremely important role in not only helping to delay this virus and supporting those affected, but also continuing to provide the services that our citizens rely on every day.
I am confident the NICS will rise to the challenge.
Look after yourselves and each other.
Thank you in advance