Are Couriers Classed as Key Workers?

Women holding coronavirus sign with stop tape

The COVID-19 outbreak is one of the biggest challenges facing the UK economy ever, and certainly the most unique. The UK Government has asked some non-essential businesses to close and stop working to mitigate the spread of the virus. These are shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and some offices. Many of the latter have retreated to working from home.

Those businesses which have stopped trading are being compensated through the furlough scheme which pays 80% of employees’’ salaries each month. But many essential businesses are still open or are operating in an adapted way.

Courier services are still working in an almost identical way to before the virus. So, does that mean couriers in London and the rest of the UK are classed as key workers?

Who Are the Official Key Workers?

The official list of key workers is not exactly clear. The list of people considered key workers was reduced in the period between the virus’s outbreak and lockdown, which told people who can and cannot send children to school.

Nevertheless, there are some workers who are considered essential in dealing with the virus through lockdown means. These people are:

  • Anyone working for the NHS, from receptionists to nurses and doctors.
  • Other healthcare workers, such as dentists and those working at care homes and in aged care
  • Supermarket staff and those delivering supermarket orders
  • Pharmacy staff and veterinary services
  • Transport workers on trains and buses

Why Are These People Considered Essential/Key Workers?

The workers from the professions above are considered key workers because they provide services or products that affect the health and wellbeing of people and their needs. They also allow society to continue to operate. For example, those in self-isolation rely on supermarket deliveries and people who need prescription medicine still need to visit the pharmacy.

So, is there also an argument that couriers are also key workers?

What Are Couriers Delivering During the Pandemic?

Couriers are still working across the UK, delivering online orders to homes where people are in lockdown. Many orders are coming from Amazon, with significantly more orders from UK buyers, meaning share prices in Amazon are increasing. 

There is an argument that these orders are not essential, but others could disagree. By keeping people entertained with books, games and more at home, it can help with mental health issues such as depression – and it could prevent people from breaking social distancing rules. Moreover, there has been an increase in demand for at-home fitness products, which contribute to improved physical health.

Couriers Are Helping the Economy

Most courier services in London and the rest of the UK are serving everyday people and their lockdown needs. Yet, many will also be helping small businesses who need to ship products to their own customers. In that respect, it could also be argued that couriers are helping smaller businesses stay afloat during troubled economic times.

This is even more crucial considering many of the newly self-employed people in the UK may miss out on the UK’ coronavirus financial support packages.

It might be difficult to directly state that couriers are as essential as a nurse or Tesco delivery driver, but what they are doing remains important for a lot of the UK population, their health or maybe even their small online business.

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