Stuart McMillan MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde has called on businesses producing non-essential items or providing non-essential services to close – especially if they cannot enable their staff to work from home or abide by social distancing guidelines.
The local MSP has received a high volume of correspondence from constituents who feel like their role is not essential in responding to COVID-19, but their employers are expecting them to attend work as usual. This is despite some occupations involving tasks that prevent workers from remaining two metres apart at all times, in line with social distancing.
Commenting, Stuart said:
“I am aware that this is a difficult time for businesses and individuals alike. I trust that the vast majority of employers are doing all they can to support their staff while also trying to keep their business afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.
“However, my message is clear. If your business is not essential and cannot accommodate social distancing or enable staff to work from home, please close.
“I recognise that some businesses may think that remaining open and paying their staff as usual is the right thing to do, but there is financial support available because the Scottish and UK Governments want as many workplaces as possible to close.
“In circumstances where a business cannot close, I would ask managers to speak with their employees to find out how to best support them. A number of constituents have contacted me as they live with or care for someone with an underlying health condition that puts them at severe risk of COVID-19, and they are scared of attending work in case they pass it on.
“I’ve encouraged constituents to have a frank and honest conversation with their employer to give them the opportunity to support their staff as best as they can. I suspect most employers would not wish to put their staff, or their loved ones, at risk if they knew the circumstances.
“Regardless, I will do all I can to support my constituents and local businesses who may find themselves struggling during this uncertain time. No one is immune to the anxiety caused by COVID-19, but for those of us who are healthy and not at risk, we must appreciate that the fear felt by at risk people will be even greater.”