Your employer has a duty to use reasonable endeavours to provide you with a safe place of work – so they must carry out a risk assessment in advance of your return and implement measures to minimise the risk of you catching Covid-19. This will include implementing social distancing measures within the organisation and, where appropriate, providing PPE – such as hand sanitiser, face masks, gloves and screens. On top of this, there is existing legislation which gives employees rights to stay away from work in circumstances where in your reasonable opinion – the work place environment is such that you feel there a real risk of serious and imminent danger which you could not be expected to avoid. In these circumstances you are protected from being unfairly dismissed (but only if you’re an employee). I am aware that the College of Optometrists post almost daily updates on advice to opticians and people working in their practises – might be worth looking at that regularly to keep you up to date with industry guidance.
Ian Liddle, Farleys Solicitors