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This morning (20 March 2020), the UK Government released a list of key workers that will be allowed to continue to send their children to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite efforts from the British Pest Control Association to influence the decision, pest management is not explicitly included on the list of key workers. Pest management is a critical sector and has already been recognised as such during this pandemic by Governments in France, Spain, Italy and the USA.

The British Pest Control Association deems any pest management professional involved in the provision of pest management services to any of the above sites as critical for the ongoing provision of these services.

Ian Andrew, BPCA’s chief executive, said: “We believe that our members have a critical role to play in managing public health pests during the pandemic, and therefore they should be allowed to continue to work during the pandemic. We live and work in extraordinary times, and while we all have significant challenges facing us with the Covid-19 pandemic, public health pest management must not be forgotten. “The professional pest management sector in the UK has a critical role to play in:

  • Protecting our nation’s food from farm to fork;
  • Protecting other essential workers in hospitals and supermarkets;
  • Protecting the vulnerable and sick from further exposure to diseases; and
  • Protecting the distressed from the mental anguish of an infestation.”

The BPCA has deemed the operatives and support staff as key workers and have developed a template letter for its members to customise and give to staff with school-age children. They will then, in turn, give the letter to the headmaster of their school or local authority who ultimately must interpret the Government’s list of key workers.

At Abate, we have also developed a Coronavirus Risk Assessment & Safe System of Work. This covers all aspects of entering a client’s property to undertake inspections and/or pest control treatment or services. This process also includes a go/no-go flow chart for the use of our pest technicians whilst visiting external sites.

Additional due diligence has been introduced for each member of service staff to contact the office each day and advise of any changes or concerns regarding their (or their family’s) health. Service staff are happy to continue working and will continue to follow good practices that Abate have put into place and via Government guidelines.

So far, most sites we service have found that pest control is an essential service and with these additional measures, we are meeting current guidelines.

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