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What actions and measures should be avoided?

The CMA is particularly concerned about certain activities, its guidance highlights:

  • Exchange of commercially sensitive information where this is not necessary in response to the crisis
  • Collaboration which unfairly excludes third parties
  • Abuse of a dominant position (including a dominant position held as a result of the crisis) – particularly to charge excessive prices
  • Seeking to maintain prices or prevent reductions in prices
  • Cooperation going beyond what is necessary to respond to the crisis in the interests of consumers

Related FAQs

What is the new Permitted Development Right for restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments?

A new Permitted Development Right has been introduced providing restaurants and cafes, drinking establishments with expanded food provision to temporarily provide takeaway food. The new right came into force on 24 March 2020 and expires on 23 March 2021. The right is subject to three conditions:

  • The developer must notify the local planning authority if the building and any land within its curtilage is being used, or will be used, for the provision of takeaway food at any time during the relevant period
  • Change of use to the provision of takeaway food under the Right, does not affect the use class which the building and any land within its curtilage had before the change of use
  • If the developer changes use to the provision of takeaway food under the Right, the use of the building and any land within its curtilage reverts to its previous lawful use when the Right expires or, if earlier, when the developer ceases to provide takeaway food.

Alcohol will still be subject to the same licensing requirements. At this stage, it is not clear how the Right will interact with any current planning conditions placed on an establishment.  Enforcement however remains discretionary. A link to Statutory Instrument 2020 No.330 is below.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/330/made

Should I pay my apprentice to continue training?

Employers should ensure that apprentices are paid at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW//NMW) as appropriate (and taking into account the new rates which will take effect from 1 April 2021) for training carried out where their wage received through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme does not cover this.

Can I be fined for failing to take steps to try to ensure that my staff comply with the requirements to self-isolate?

Yes.

An employer which is aware that a worker or agency worker is or ought to be self-isolating, should not knowingly allow that worker or agency worker to leave the place that they are self-isolating in (“the designated place”).  To do so without reasonable excuse would amount to an offence which could result in the employer being issued with a fixed penalty notice.

The value of the fixed penalty varies depending on if it is the first or subsequent fixed penalty notice to be issued:

First fixed penalty notice £1,000
Second fixed penalty notice £2,000
Third fixed penalty notice £4,000
Fourth, and any subsequent fixed penalty notice £10,000
What allowances has the Government proposed for company meetings?

The Government’s Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act introduces amendments to the current rules for companies on holding meetings, to address the difficulties companies are facing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new provisions apply to meetings held between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 (referred to as the “Relevant Period”). Subsequent regulations by the Government can be used to shorten this period or extend by up to 3 months but not past 5 April 2021.

The provisions will have retrospective effect, so meetings that were held after 26 March 2020 that may not have met the usual legal requirements due to lockdown, will be validated under these new provisions. These provisions under the Act make amends to relevant legislation and override a company’s articles of association.

For general meetings and certain other meetings of companies, the Act states that:

  • The meeting need not be held in any particular place;
  • The meeting may be held, and any votes may be cast, by electronic means or other means;
  • The meeting may be held without anyone being in the same place
  • Persons attending the meeting no longer have the following rights: the right to attend in person, the right to participate in the meeting other than by voting, or the right to vote by particular means.

The aim of these changes is to facilitate virtual meetings, and remove the need for a physical venue.

Where a company was required to hold its AGM between 26 March and 30 September 2020, it can be held at any time before 30 September 2020.  The Secretary of State has the power to make regulations to further extend the deadline.

What happens if a patient is admitted to critical care during the pandemic?
  • On admission to critical care, the risks, benefits and likely outcomes of the different treatment options should be discussed with patients, families and carers so they can make informed decisions about their treatment wherever possible.
  • A member of the critical care team should be involved in these discussions whenever the patient or team needs advice about critical care to make decisions about treatment.