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Coronavirus advice for interior designers

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Take a look at the strategies you might take in response to the spread of the coronavirus, and find links to the latest official information

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This page was originally created on 16th March 2020; it is updated regularly to ensure the information remains current in the changing situation. 

The situation with coronavirus COVID-19 is changing daily. But even in the face of all the uncertainty, there are steps you can take to continue the smooth running of your interior design practice. We aim to offer suggestions about how you might do this, plus provide links to government and NHS advice so you can keep abreast of the support being offered and the most up to date guidance.

Arrange remote meetings

You or your clients may wish to avoid face to face meetings, but there are effective options for remote discussions. Take a look at Cisco Webex which allows video conferencing, including via an app on your phone, or a tablet or laptop. You can share your screen easily so you can show designs.

You could also check out GoToMeeting, which has an Android and iOS app, and includes unlimited meetings and screen sharing among the features of its professional plan.

If a basic video meeting system is all you might need during the coronavirus pandemic, U Meeting – which allows participation via Windows, Mac or iOS/Android devices – has a free basic package that offers meetings of up to 30 minutes with up to 25 participants, but there are paid-for packages offering more time, participants and features as alternatives.

If you already use Google Calendar or other G Suite apps, you might like to use Hangouts Meet for video conferencing. Once you’ve set up the meeting you can share a link, and there are both iOS and Android apps, too.

Zoom has become a popular choice for those hosting webinars and for holding meetings with more than one person. Find our how to use Zoom with our step by step guide. 

Consider recent and future travel

If you’ve recently travelled overseas to a meeting or event, or gone there for personal reasons, you’ll need to follow government advice. Those who have come back from Hubei Province, including Wuhan, Iran, Daegu or Cheongdo in the Republic of Korea, and any area within Italy under containment measures in the last 14 days should avoid attending work, the government says. In this event, call NHS 111 for advice and stay at home.

Planning to travel in the near future to meet clients or attend an event abroad? You can check the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Looking after your staff

If you employ people in your interior design practice, the government has guidance to help you advise staff about COVID-19. It also specifies what you should do if someone who is suspected or confirmed to have the virus has been in your workplace. There’s also information on certification of absence from work.

At the time of writing, if a member of staff or the public with suspected COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace, there are no restrictions or special control measures required for contacts of a suspected case in the workplace while lab test results for COVID-19 are awaited, and you don’t have to close your practice or send staff home. Even if a member of staff or the public with confirmed COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace, closure isn’t recommended. You will be contacted by the Public Health England local health protection team to discuss the case and further action.

You can check the latest guidance for employers here

Get support for your business

The budget set out support measures for business during the period of disruption caused by COVID-19. The government will bring forward legislation to allow employers with fewer than 250 employees at 28 February 2020 to reclaim statutory sick pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. Note that the refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee.

The government has launched the new Bounce Back loan scheme to help small businesses access cash quickly and to help recovery from the impact of coronaivus. Get the full details of how the scheme works.

Other measures include the possibility of support with tax affairs through HMRC’s time to pay service for businesses and the self-employed who are in financial distress. This is dealt with on a case by case basis, and you can call the HMRC helpline on 0800 0159 559 if you are concerned about paying tax due to COVID-19.

Ge the full details of support available for business

Stay abreast of the latest medical advice

The current official advice is to self isolate for 7 days if you have coronavirus symptoms but it is important to keep checking for the most up-to-date medical medical information.  You can keep informed about COVID-19 symptoms and the actions you should take is via the NHS website. You can also find what you need to know about the coronavirus on the Public Health England blog.