Covid-19 Omicron Variant Contingencies

3 March, 2022
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14 December 2021

We are providing a further update on Rico and Circle Express contingencies, following implementation by the UK Government of the so-called ‘Plan B’ and updated restrictions implemented in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Community spread of the Omicron variant has continued to increase and the Government has warned that they expect a further and significant increase in the days and weeks ahead, with rates potentially doubling every two to three days.
We are now experiencing absences in staff and courier resources because of positive tests or self-isolation, particularly affecting Basildon and London sites.

The risk of potential disruption to services has increased, requiring us to implement additional actions as part of our contingency planning, to mitigate risk insofar as possible, to protect our staff, our customers, and the services we deliver.

Our actions are designed to mitigate risks of transmission in the workplace and reflect updated Government restrictions and guidance during this period of increasing positive test results and continuing risk of significant spread of the more transmissible Omicron variant.

Working from home

We have moved our people who do not perform front line operational roles, back to home working.
Front line service delivery and operational teams continue to provide the services. We have reinforced safety protocols in the workplace. The safety protocols are designed to protect all company team members and our customers. We will continue to assess risks in the workplace and will introduce additional measures as required to mitigate risk insofar as we are able.

  • Wherever possible we will maintain social distancing protocols
  • Our teams are instructed to wear face coverings in open areas wherever possible
  • We have reinforced the importance of using PPE provided by the business
  • We will continue to check colleagues and visitor temperatures at those sites operating temperature checks
  • We have briefed our teams on what to do in the event of a positive test result and have implemented a reporting process for positive test results
  • If a team member has attended a company site within 72 hours of a positive test result, we will arrange a deep clean of the site using specialist contractors
  • We have and will continue to review risks in the workplace and will implement additional safety measures identified as required

We now require visitors to our sites to wear face coverings and to observe social distancing wherever possible and we ask that our customers advise their teams of this requirement.

Face-to-face meetings

We have instructed our teams to reduce such meetings and to only go ahead where the requirement to meet or conduct a visit is essential, which must be authorised by a line manager.

Business travel

We have instructed our teams to reduce business travel wherever possible with immediate effect, whether to company or to customer locations. We will make more use of Teams meetings rather than face-to-face meetings, to reduce the risk of transmission.

We have implemented a centralised reporting system to track staff and courier absences across the Sameday network, resulting from positive tests or self-isolation.

We have reintroduced the ‘no contact’ collection and delivery protocols for our Sameday Courier teams – to ensure we maintain social distancing insofar as we are able for the protection of our teams and our customers. This new protocol has been supported by the creation of an animation video which can be viewed here.

Current service impacts

We are currently experiencing courier and staff absences centred on Basildon and London Sameday sites, because of known positive Covid tests or self-isolation. The absences represent approximately 12% of the courier fleet in this area as of December 13th. The service delivery teams will seek to utilise couriers from other sites passing the area where possible, but there is an increased risk of delays in collection and delivery times for Basildon and London sites, dependent upon the demand for service and courier availability. Any delays will be reported through the normal channels.

There is a potential risk to resources in other regions in the days and weeks ahead if the number of Omicron cases increases and spreads as expected. We have implemented a centralised reporting system to track staff and courier absences across the network which will allow us to track and report risks to resources as they occur.

This will allow us to track known absences resulting from Covid or self-isolation, but there may be additional cases not reported directly to us by the self-employed couriers.

There are no known service impacts to In-Night, PUDO, FSL, Technology Services or Circle Express services at this time, but we will communicate any changes through the Customer Comms portal and via Account and Operational managers.
The updated contingency actions outlined in this update are designed to mitigate risks of transmission in the workplace insofar as we can and to try and reduce risk to resources.

The Covid-19 Contingency Project team will continue to meet as required to review service impacts, progress contingency actions and assess the effectiveness of contingency actions.

We will continue to report increased risks to service or service impacts via the Customer Comms portal. The communication program is in addition to the updates provided by Account Managers and Operational Managers. Customers may subscribe additional colleagues to receive alerts and updates by clicking here

Summary

We will continue to review risk levels and deploy additional contingency actions as required, to protect our people, our customers and protect front-line services. We will continue to review and comply with updated Government guidance. We are prepared to support our customers in the event that they need to deploy their own contingencies.

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