Firstly, we continue to thank you for what you have done so far to get through the COVID-19 pandemic and to support your colleagues and Norse. We recognise you are busy managing challenging personal situations and your efforts make a difference to the people and customers we serve.

Our regeneration plan is working well and is ensuring that, under strict controls, we can return more colleagues to work, safely and compliantly. We are now working in a busier environment and it’s encouraging to see staff confidence is improving and normality is returning to our working environments.

However, it is vital that we remain vigilant and continue to closely follow the safe systems of working, in line with the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy. Your commitment to this is critical. Please don’t forget the basics required to stop the spread of the coronavirus – Hands, Face and Space – see more on this later.

The relaxation of wider social distancing measures, and the increase in COVID-19 testing means that we might see a rise in the number of confirmed cases among our workforce. It is imperative that the SHEQ and HR departments are informed as soon as is reasonably practicable of any confirmed cases to ensure we offer any support required and maintain accurate statistics.

Please inform your Line Manager if you, somebody you live with or have recently been in close contact with, displays any symptoms of COVID-19. You or your close contacts (whoever is showing symptoms) must take a test and while you await the test and its results, you must stay away from work as a sickness absence. This is for your personal safety and the safety of your Norse colleagues, and it is an expectation placed upon you as a dedicated employee.

Tests are free and more information is available here.

From today (14 September), the UK Government has simplified and strengthened the rules around social contact. The ‘rule of six’ replaces the ban on gatherings of more than 30 and the previous guidance on allowing two households to meet indoors. We urge you to follow the rule of six outside of work, to protect yourselves, your families and your work colleagues.

There are no changes being made to working safely and our stringent controls across Norse Group remain in place, ensuring you are as protected from coronavirus at work as is possible.

Procedures have been developed should any part of the Group be subject to a localised lockdown and staff can be confident that the Incident Management Team (IMT) and the whole Group will respond swiftly and competently to ensure their safety, so frontline services can continue to operate with protective measures in place.

We continue to be a distanced, isolated workforce in areas of the business, and it remains important to look after our mental health, so please continue to text and call friends and family.

We hope this reassurance is helpful. The SHEQ and HR departments remain fully operational and are available to answer questions you may have regarding COVID-19, as well as routine questions.

Jamie McDonald
Group SHEQ Director

Katie Marrison
Group HR Director

Hands, Face, Space

Washing your hands
While coronavirus is not likely to survive for long periods of time on outdoor surfaces in sunlight, it can live for more than 24 hours in indoor environments. Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day, will reduce the risk of catching or passing on the virus.

Covering your face
Coronavirus is carried in the air by tiny respiratory droplets that carry the virus. Face coverings reduce the dispersion of these droplets, meaning if you’re carrying the virus you’re less likely to spread it when you breathe out, cough or sneeze.

Making space
Transmission of the virus is most likely to happen within 2 metres. While keeping this exact distance isn’t always possible, remaining mindful of surroundings and continuing to make space has a powerful impact when it comes to containing the spread.