As you will know the government yesterday (19th October) announced the introduction of Level 5 restrictions nationwide for a period of 6 weeks effective from midnight on Wednesday 21st October. These restrictions place additional constraints on service businesses nationwide - with many being forced to close altogether.
Level 5 restrictions for Tradesmen and Tradespeople
The government level 5 restrictions specifically mention construction, maintenance and repair work in people's homes under their definition of 'Essential Services' as follows:
5. The following services relating to construction and development:
(a) construction or development work and the provision of support services relating to construction and development work;
(b) the repair, maintenance and construction of road, rail and utility infrastructure;
(c) the supply and delivery of maintenance and repair services to businesses and places of residence (including electrical, gas, plumbing, glazing and roofing services).
The wording of this statement specifies some trades by name and indicates that they are permitted as 'Essential services' under level 5 restrictions. As such these trades are allowed to travel to and work in peoples homes.
Based on the above, and subject to correction from the government which is being currently sought, we interpret that the following trades are deemed essential under level 5 restrictions:
- Domestic construction
- Plumbing services and repairs
- Heating / Boiler servicing, repairs and maintenance
- Window maintenance and repairs
The definition of 'Domestic construction' is broad and may include house extensions, refurbishments and hardscaping (landscaping construction work) . Once again some further clarity may be provided by the government here.
Less certain is how the restrictions apply to other trades. For example painting and decorating is not specifically mentioned and would appear to fall out of the definition. Other professional services such as BER assessments, domestic cleaning among others are also not specifically mentioned.
In summary the domestic trade sector has a number of restrictions under level 5 but much of the activity within it could be interpreted as 'Essential services'.
With that all said, it is however important for all within the sector to respect the bigger picture - Level 5 restrictions have been introduced to stem the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and as such we all have a role to play. In assessing whether or not your business continues to work during this period we would urge all parties to observe the specific HSE guidelines and only work where safe to do so.
Government statement on essential services under level 5 restrictions here.
HSE Covid-19 Guidance here