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AUGUST 2020

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LATEST NEWS
SPATABISHTACoronavirus
The UK Swimming Pool And Hot Tub Industry View On Coronavirus (COVID-19) As At 09/04/20
SPATA and BISHTA continue to closely follow Government guidelines and will continue to provide regular updates on how COVID-19 will affect people and businesses.

Receive COVID-19 bulletins from the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) by subscribing (CLICK HERE).

Following on from the Pool and Hot Tub Industry guidance issued on 27 March, this update seeks to provide further clarification on current government guidance and so the previous guidance issued on 27 March is now superseded and should not be referred to. An updated version of the industry guidance is reproduced below.

Business owners in the pool and hot tub industry will need to make their own decisions about whether they stay open, or not, based on the available public health guidance and its impact on their ability to keep staff, and contractors safe, to comply with the Health & Safety at Work Act. This approach will be needed until such time as the UK Government confirms whether water hygiene management of pools and hot tubs can be added to the list of ‘essential’ work, or it decides that this work should be prohibited to be undertaken (except for essential health and safety functions).

The current Government guidance (CLICK HERE) states that you should ‘only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)’.

The Government has issued guidance about which businesses and premises it expects to close (CLICK HERE) and they are listed in Section 1. It is clear from their guidance that showrooms should currently be closed to the public. From the recent announcement, it is clear that online sales can continue (CLICK HERE).

Section 2 of the same guidance above, covers details about ‘work carried out in people’s homes’ (CLICK HERE).

It states that ‘tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well, and has no symptoms’. Please read the rest of the guidance for yourself but, note that when working in a customer’s property, great care should be taken regarding the importance of social distancing and cleanliness to safeguard employees and clients alike (CLICK HERE).

No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household (such as emergency plumbing or repairs), and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has issued guidance (CLICK HERE) that apart from the businesses and premises above that should be closed, other businesses may carry on their activity.

SPATA and BISHTA recommend that where activity is to continue, working practices must be carefully managed and that any risk assessment undertaken, shall ensure that staff are suitably protected. They must be well enough to travel and have been provided with suitable PPE (such as disposable gloves, a mask, protective eyewear and hand gel / sanitiser) where applicable.

SPATA and BISHTA also recommend that due to social distancing guidelines staff should not share the same vehicle to protect staff. If travelling to a property, access to the garden or indoor pool hall, will ideally not require the need to enter the home of the client. Where the home has to be entered, there should be a strict procedure in place to safeguard the worker and the client.

Sales of hot tubs may continue without face to face contact, but installation will need careful management to determine if this aspect can be achieved without risk to staff and / or clients. Undertaking long-distance transportation for an installation should be carefully considered, due to possible welfare issues for the staff who may be exposed to situations relating to comfort breaks during the day, and maintaining their hygiene between customer visits.

After the Government’s announcements to reduce social contact and minimise non-essential travel, there has been a range of financial measures put in place to compensate businesses that may be affected during the Coronavirus outbreak (CLICK HERE). A number of SPATA and BISHTA members have already chosen to seek assistance for furloughing some or all of their staff and some businesses are applying for business grants / loans.

For self-employed people with a profit of less than £50,000 per annum, there is now government support through The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This scheme will support individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively affected by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month (CLICK HERE) – there is also a frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) section (CLICK HERE).

The recent move to require people to stay at home is understood as necessary for various reasons, most noticeably the need to maintain social distancing. At the same time, the maintenance of water hygiene can be an important contributory factor for health and safety reasons, as well as for the health and wellbeing of pool and hot tub owners.

There are an estimated 275,000 swimming pools and 500,000+ hot tubs (including inflatable spas) in the UK. Owners of these domestic swimming pools and hot tubs will be looking to ensure that their equipment stays safe and in good working order. They will be looking for professionals to provide this support.

Companies will have arrangements in place for office staff to work from home, and where possible, technical issues for customers may be able to be solved by telephone, or online. However, there will be a significant requirement for service engineers and technicians to attend site to deal with maintenance and breakdowns of pool plant and equipment to avoid possible health and safety issues, with water hygiene and electrical safety.

Pools and hot tubs require regular dosing of a sanitiser to keep the water healthy and clarification is being sought from the government about whether field-based pool and hot tub professionals can be classified as ‘essential workers’. Pool professionals provide expertise, chemical supplies and servicing and are therefore able to assist their customers maintain their facilities in a safe condition.

Manufacturers and distributors of pool and hot tub chemicals are working with the pool trade to provide much-needed sanitisers to their clients. These ensure that owners can look after their pool or hot tub, to ensure their water is safe and free from harmful bacteria that can pose a risk to health, or even the risk of death if left untreated. The sale of these sanitisers must comply with the various applicable legislation, such as the Offensive Weapons Act, Explosive Precursors Regulations, and the Transport of Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Service engineers and technicians can attend site to deal with the repair and maintenance of pool plant and equipment to avoid possible health and safety issues, with water hygiene and electrical safety. It is vital that pools and hot tubs can be maintained correctly and often this can only be undertaken by professional service engineers. This will ensure that there are no public health issues with stagnant untreated water from various pathogens such as Pseudomonas, E. coli, Legionella, etc. which can pose a serious risk to health.

Please also be aware that existing swimming pools full of water are safer to maintain than if they are empty. Potentially, there could be structural damage to the empty pool shell, from underground water pressure, if it is emptied unsafely.

Unfinished in-ground swimming pool projects must also be made safe. Part-built projects pose safety risks such as cave-ins which are dangerous and costly to resolve. There are also potential dangers to the homeowner and others resulting from an unattended construction site.

Apart from a health and safety perspective, the pool and hot tub industry is in a unique situation that it contributes to helping many owners improving their physical activity levels and their mental health. Sport England has stated that it is more important than ever for people to stay active and with public leisure centres and gyms now closed, people will need home-based activities. The owners of residential swimming pools and hot tubs can, themselves, undertake water-based exercise and wellness that can also sustain their mental health. Therefore, it is important that our industry is permitted to carry on servicing and maintaining pools and hot tubs to facilitate health and wellbeing, where it is safe to do so.

We will continue to listen to the government and their public health professionals to keep us all safe from the worst effects of COVID-19. As pool and hot tub professionals, we are also ready to play our part in keeping people physically and mentally active for the challenges that lie ahead (CLICK HERE).

*This updated information was published on 09/04/20 and may be subject to further amendments.

For more information contact SPATA on 01264 356210 / BISHTA on 01264 356211 or visit www.spata.co.uk or www.bishta.co.uk





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