Many of you will have questions about the guidance released by Government about who qualifies as ‘key workers’ in relation to the closure of schools.

The relevant section of the Government advice states: “This [key worker status] includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).”

This has created some confusion for pet stores because, food for animals may be referred to as “food” or “feed”. Depending on the definition used “food” may include that which animals and other organisms eat, or it may be restricted to only what humans eat. We are seeking clarification on the scope of the definition included in the ‘key workers’ guidance.

Government advice is that organisations and their workers should directly follow the Government’s guidance, and which could for example inform local discussions between individual workers and their schools/nurseries.

However, we would urge you to consider the pressure that schools and teachers are already under in trying to ensure suitable social distancing between the children of key workers needing to attend school and the need for schools to prioritise NHS workers and others on the frontline of this crisis. Any additional students that schools need to take will create extra, unwelcome burdens on an already stretched system. Can you justify ‘key worker status’ to your local community? If not, this might have negative repercussions on your business longer term.

Please consider how you can avoid placing more pressure on the school system and, wherever possible, do not seek key worker status.

Additional advice for parents and carers has been issued and is available here.