Up-to-date Covid-19 public health measures and other related information is available on the government website here. Water services - including those provided by the GWS sector - continue to be recognised as essential services. Schemes must make sure appropriate arrangements are in place to ensure any staff or volunteers are operating safely and in compliance with the latest government guidance.
The Work Safely Protocol can be read here and the latest 'Returning Safely to the Workplace' guidelines were published by the government on the 22 October 2021. It can be read here. As stated in the guidelines, it is critically important that all employers and employees now take steps, individually and collectively in their everyday lives, to keep the risk of COVID-19 under control, in particular by:
- acting fast, isolating and getting tested if we have symptoms;
- wearing face coverings where appropriate;
- making sure that indoor spaces are well ventilated;
- maintaining adequate social distancing whenever appropriate; and
- covering our coughs and sneezes and keeping our hands clean.
It is important for group water schemes to familiarise themselves with these documents and implement specific measures and contingency arrangements to protect workers and volunteers. Hand washing and/or hand sanitising facilities should be made available to anyone working on behalf of your scheme. Social distancing guidelines should be observed at all times. NFGWS Development Staff continue to be available to advise and assist schemes if needed.
Appropriate signage and posters should be erected on group water scheme sites. Up to date signage is available from here. Below is an example from the West Limerick GWS (Killeedy site), where signage has been displayed to ensure people entering the site are aware of the various measures and requirements.
Examples of appropriate signage and posters:
In 2020, the Government introduced emergency legislation to facilitate AGMs, SGMs, EGMs or other general meetings being held by virtual means. This legislation has since been extended until 31 December 2021. ICOS issued an advice note to co-operatives to help them set up and organise AGMs virtually. The NFGWS has also developed template documents to assist schemes wishing to hold their AGM virtually. GWSs needing assistance are advised to contact their local NFGWS Development Officer.
NFGWS template MS Word document...click here
Further information on COVID-19 can be accessed here:
- Most up to date Government Advice
- ICOS updated advice on COVID-19 General Meetings the AGM 24th August 2020 - Emergency Legislation
- ICOS updated advice on COVID-19 Board Meetings 25th May 2020
- Further information from WHO on COVID-19
- Roadmap for reopening society and business
- Work Safely Protocol ( October 2021)
- Returning Safely to the Workplace guidelines
List of NFGWS advice notes and relevant material issued to the GWS sector since the 10th March 2020.
- NFGWS COVID-19 Advice Note 1 - 10th March 2020
- NFGWS COVID-19 Advice Note 2 - 20th March 2020
- NFGWS COVID-19 Advice Note 3 - 30th March 2020
- NFGWS COVID-19 Advice Note 4 - 15th May 2020
- NFGWS press release 19th March 2020