Here is the latest guidance from the Driving Instructors Association on COVID-19.
The risk of catching coronavirus (COVID-19) is now rated as high according to the government.
The government has announced that everyone must stay at home. You can only go out:
- To shop for basic necessities
- To take one form of exercise a day
- For a medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- To travel to and from essential work
Self-isolate for seven days if you have either:
- A high temperature
- A new continuous cough
This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.
The NHS will not be testing people who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.
If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. In an emergency, dial 999.
Preventing spread of infection
Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Avoid direct contact with fuel pumps and/or air pressure pumps at the petrol station, and also pay and display ticket machines. If your car is going in/coming out of a garage, others will have been using the controls, so make sure you throughly disinfect. Avoid handling cash and get a contactless payment system or use bank transfers.
Ask your pupils to clean their hands just before they get into the car with the recommended gels/soap and water, keep tissues in the car and a bin bag to dispose of any rubbish once or twice a day. Keep your car windows open, sanitise your keys, and external parts of the car such as door handles, fuel caps, bonnet catches, door mirrors (take manufacturers’ advice re avoiding putting certain products that are not meant for cars as it could cause damage to surfaces). If you are in a test centre waiting room, remember the social distancing rule (2m) and make sure a window is open if possible.
Face masks for the general public are not recommended to protect from infection, as there is no evidence of benefit from their use outside healthcare environments.
Driver and rider trainer guidance
Our current position is outlined below:
Statement from NASP (National Associations Strategic Partnership) which comprises the ADINJC, DIA and MSA GB 23.3.2020
At an extremely difficult and worrying time for us all, taking into account the Government public health advice regarding social distancing and trying to control and delay the spread of the COVID-19 virus, NASP would urge all instructors to stop delivering driving lessons, if you have not already done so, with the exception of teaching key workers where necessary. This should be until the end of April and then we can then all review the situation again.
We fully appreciate the worry of financial loss that this brings, and we hope that our calls for Government to offer a rescue package to the self-employed are acted upon, but we consider it is not possible for us to comply with current social distancing measures whilst teaching in a car.
We realise that any decision regarding your business is ultimately your own to make, but hope that this announcement might help those of you with uncertainty about the appropriate course of action to take in these unprecedented circumstances. We will keep you updated as times go on and if the situation changes, please keep checking NASP website for current updates and advice.
Lynne Barrie on behalf of NASP as the current chair
If you do deem it necessary to continue supplying driver or rider training (to key workers etc) our guidance is that you:
Call your pupils ahead of each lesson (even if you have seen them within the last couple of days).
- Ask them if they have any symptoms.
- Ask them if anyone they know, or have been in contact with, is showing symptoms.
- Ask them if they, or if anyone they have been in contact with, has travelled from a high-risk, infectious region.
If a parent or anyone else comes along on the lesson, you will need to go through this with them too (or jointly).
Explain to them that you need to take a few extra precautionary measures during their lesson to keep them, and everyone safe.
- To wash their hands or use sanitiser gel just prior to getting into the car.
- To cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing – so a sleeve or tissue, not their hands.
- You’ll keep a window open for ventilation.
You also have some other housekeeping to do in order to help protect yourself and your client.
Before the client enters the vehicle, ensure that you have wiped over the following contact points:
Door handles (inside and out), window controls, seat adjusters, steering wheel and steering wheel height adjuster, parking brake, gear lever, indicator and wiper stalks and light controls with alcohol-based gel at the beginning and end of each training session. This would be good practice.
If you are unable to get the alcohol gel, then a bottle containing disinfectant, mixed with antibacterial soap and water and wiped over with kitchen paper and then dried with a separate sheet of kitchen paper would do. Ensure to discard the paper in the bin each time.
As a note of caution, the police are stopping people who are out in their cars to ask them what they are doing. This is because travel is only allowed when absolutely necessary. We are currently speaking to DVSA regarding the training of key workers, but the police now have the power to fine people £30 for going out without good reason. We will keep you updated with DVSA’s advice for training key workers.
For motorcycle instructors
Check the ATB has contacted the client to ensure that they are turning up for training in a fit and healthy state. Make sure that all equipment is sanitised, such as gloves, helmets and their fastening straps, fuel taps, handlebars and grips, brake and clutch levers.
When you stop for breaks on the road, monitor the clients. Body temperature increases greatly in protective clothing when in challenging and unfamiliar environments, like when training. Check that any perspiration is not fever by asking the questions found on the NHS England website (this is updated regularly).
If re-fuelling, remove your protective gloves and put on disposable gloves supplied for diesel pumps. This stops you putting any contamination into your protective gloves and incubating it with sweaty hands. Sanitise the key.
If your clients develop signs of fever or other pertinent symptoms of COVID-19 during training, call NHS 111 immediately. Get advice on what to do with the casualty as they are not isolated and then get advice for yourself and the other clients in your party. Notify the ATB immediately, since all bikes may have to be recovered and further measures taken.
Business advice and financial concerns
The National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) has offered the following guidance for driver and rider trainers:
Try not to panic. Easy to say, but set aside some time, sit down calmly with a clear head and look at your business. There will be a way through this if it becomes difficult, you are planning ahead and it hasn’t actually happened yet.
Look at your variable costs in the business you have control over, can any of those costs be cut back for a short time? For example, can you wash your own car instead of using a car wash? Take your own coffee rather than buy one from outlets during the day?
Do not stick your head in the sand. If you’re looking at bills coming in and you’re not going to be able to cover them, contact the companies concerned. Be proactive – businesses are all in this situation together and it is in the interests of everyone to work together. For example; can they help by extending the time you have to pay?
Can you cut back on your day-to-day living costs so you can pay yourself less for a short time? You know you best and know what you could cut back on if needs be.
You might want to consider your terms and conditions and whether you are going to charge for cancellations. This situation is exceptional and well outside the norm, one that no-one could have foreseen. If you charge students for a missed lesson because they are coughing, or self-isolating you will possibly lose them afterwards.
You might want to consider sending all your students a text, email or message setting out your position.
Let your students know what precautions you are taking to protect their safety and your own, and what you expect of them.
Unfortunately this situation will get worse before it gets better, so our advice would be to immediately cut down on your outgoings.
Financially the temptation may be to work through any illness or give lessons to pupils with symptoms but this could well be counterproductive. You are more likely to have to stop working altogether in a few days’ time.
Working throughout the outbreak on a reduced diary with healthy pupils and keeping healthy yourself is by far the best way to get through this difficult time.
If customers have to cancel, you should consider your health and safety and that of your other customers and consider taking the short term financial hit (regarding cancellation charges) rather than risk the chance of losing two weeks or more off sick.
The short term financial gain of trying to continue to work may do an ADIs long term reputation harm, as well as endangering their own and everybody else’s health that enter and leave their place of business.
Please note that these measures may change in the coming weeks so instructors need to keep up-to-date with the news.
Driving tests suspended for up to 3 months – tests for critical workers to continue and be prioritised
DVSA is suspending driving tests for up to three months from 21 March as there is extended contact between candidates and examiners in vehicles. Motorcycle tests are also being suspended.
- Car driving tests
- Motorcycle tests
- ADI tests and checks
- Lorry, coach and bus driving tests
DVSA has put in place plans to provide tests for people who provide essential services.
DVSA will get in touch with everyone with a test booked during this time to let them know their test has been suspended and it will be automatically re-booked.
In addition, all theory tests have been cancelled until Monday 20 April 2020 and refunds will be issued.
If your test has been suspended with less than three days’ notice, you and your pupils will be able to claim out-of-pocket expenses.
DVSA will be monitoring the emerging situation and will let you know if it needs to cancel any more tests.
Yesterday afternoon the Chancellor announced a Self Employed Income Support Scheme. This is a taxable grant of up to 80% of your monthly income, capped at £2,500 per month. Those eligible can claim the grant and also still continue to do business. To make the scheme fair, only those who have trading profits of up to £50,000 are eligible. Only those who have filed a 2019 tax return will be eligible.
These grants will be available at the start of June – you will apparently receive three months at once at this time.
If you missed the January 2019 deadline, you can file your tax return in the next four weeks (the clock started for this on 24 March).
Contact us for support if you need it and we can point you to advisers who can help you get that filing done efficiently.
The self-employed grant will be paid monthly and for an initial three-month period. The Chancellor will consider an extension if necessary
If you have only completed tax returns over one year, your eligibility will be assessed on that.
If you have three years’ returns, or more, your grant will be assessed on the average of those.
This scheme will be managed by HMRC and payments will be made by them to your designated bank account.
Income tax payments, due in April, will be deferred to January 2021.
The July deadline for self-assessment is deferred to January.
The self employed will also have access to a Business Interruption Loan.
Measures to help small businesses
- A range of grants and loans will be available to small businesses across the UK
- Employers can apply for grants via HMRC to help cover employee salaries – the Chancellor has said the government will pay 80% of wages for employees who are not working, up to £2,500 a month.
- Business rates have been cut
- VAT payments will be deferred for the next quarter
Measures to help the self-employed
- Next self assessment payments deferred to January 2021
- You can apply for Universal Credit now – minimum income floor suspended for self employed, so can claim universal credit
- Self-employed workers will have quicker and easier access to benefit support during the coronavirus pandemic
- Working tax credits allowance will be increased by £1000
Financial hardship resources and sources of further advice
- Lenders will offer three month payment holidays for mortgages
- Tenants will be given extra financial support – the Chancellor pledged £1bn of support for renters
- Housing benefit minimum increased to 30% of market rent
- Landlords cannot evict tenants for three months
- Universal credit allowance increased by £1,000
HMRC Helpline: 0800 0159 559 (a lot of the benefits and business support will be channeled through HMRC)
With thanks to colleagues within NASP and DVSA for their contributions to this information. We will continue to exchange advice and information with these partners to help get as much guidance out to the industry as possible.
Last updated: Friday 27 March 2020, 09:11