Easing lockdown: information for housing associations

01 October 2021

On 22 February Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the government’s roadmap for easing the national lockdown. We have summarised the announcements which affect housing associations.

These resource has been updated to reflect that we're now at step four of the roadmap.

Landlord and tenant guidance, maintenance work and evictions

Care homes and supported housing

Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • The safety of staff and residents continues to be of vital importance.
  • Free provision of PPE to health and social care staff will continue until at least March 2022.
  • A stockpile equivalent to approximately 120 days’ usage at coronavirus levels will remain in the UK, to cushion any fluctuations in demand. 

Infection control in care and support settings

Visiting into and out of a care homes or supported living

Use of indoor spaces

  • Guidance on use of shared space stresses the ongoing need for strict cleaning regimes, good ventilation and compliance with rules on household mixing. The guidance states that "in sheltered and supported housing landlords and scheme managers should undertake their own local risk assessment, balancing the importance of measures that can assist residents’ wider well-being and independence and the need to have the right infection control measures in place."
  • The government has updated their specific guidance around the ventilation of indoor spaces to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Vaccine rollout and community champions

  • The government announced on 16 June that vaccinations will be compulsory for staff working in all care homes in England registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). From October, all staff directly employed by the care home or employed through an agency, as well as all volunteers, will need to be fully vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine, unless they have a medical exemption. This will also apply to people coming into care homes to do other work, for example healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians. For full details please see this webpage
  • You can read more about testing and vaccines on our dedicated resource page

Testing information

General testing

  • We have detailed guidance on our coronavirus testing page outlining the latest information and guidance around testing for housing associations.

Employer-led testing

  • Employers can no longer order free tests for their employees, however they can either buy their own tests and set up workplace testing, or pay an approved provider to provide tests or run a test site for them.

Economic support for individuals self-isolating

  • The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme includes parents who are unable to work because they are caring for a child who is self-isolating.
  • Local authorities are able to make discretionary additional payments and to ensure people self-isolating have access to practical support, such as food deliveries or help with their caring responsibilities.

Supporting people through coronavirus

Potential winter plans

  • The government’s Plan A will aim to sustain the progress made so far. This means continuing the vaccine campaign, identifying and isolating positive cases, managing pressures on the NHS and social care, and providing clear guidance and communications for reducing risk.
  • If data begins to suggest that extra measures are needed to protect the NHS, Plan B will be introduced. This means quick communication about the increased risk factor, vaccine status certification and mandatory masks (the latter two will only apply in some settings).
  • Free Lateral Flow and PCR testing will continue into this period.
  • Practical and financial support for those who require assistance to self-isolate will continue and will be reviewed by March 2022.
  • The government will continue to provide guidance on behaviours and actions that reduce transmission and manage risks, based on the latest evidence.

Who to speak to

Sue Ramsden, Policy Leader