As the father to three kids (9, 12 and 13), who attend three different schools, we’re hoping for the best and planning for the worst. Add to the mix that my wife is a Forest School Leader working in two different primary schools, and our household exposure to risk goes up again.
The reality of these risks poked its head around the front door yesterday when my wife woke up with a persistent cough. After thoroughly reading the government website to understand the rules and guidance, we spent the rest of the day refreshing three different devices to secure a Covid-19 test.
You see, when one member of the household displays any of the three main Covid-19 symptoms (new persistent cough, high temperature, loss of smell or taste), the whole household is forced into a 14-day period of self-isolation.
Self-isolation is nothing like the heady days of the lockdown, where you could head out for some daily exercise, walk the dogs and nip to the shops to do a food shop. Self-isolation is a hardcore lockdown; you can only step across the threshold for a medical appointment or a Covid-19 test.
We’re hoping for a negative test result when it comes through, so along with the rest of the house, I can head into the outside world again. But how long before someone else in the house wakes up with a nasty cough, or loses their sense of taste because of a nasty cold? We could be in and out of self-isolation on a frequent basis for the remainder of the winter.
As Financial Planners start to have serious conversations about reopening their offices, it’s important to understand the rules as they relate to self-isolation, bubbles and close contact with others.
Do the benefits of working from the office outweigh the risks of being legally compelled to not only work from home but stay at home 24/7 for a fortnight? Where you are inviting staff or clients into your office, are you explicitly telling them about this risk?
It’s far too easy to criticise the government for the omnishambles that is developing around testing capacity. We can’t do anything to change that, apart from acting responsibly and not placing an undue burden on the already broken system.
What we can do is think very carefully before contributing to an increased risk of not only catching and spreading Covid-19 but catching and spreading any germs that can give rise to a period of self-isolation.