AN angry worker claims their employer is demanding staff still come in to work during the coronavirus lockdown – despite not being classed as an essential business.

The Prime Minister’s announcement this week prompted many shops, services and council offices to close to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The Government’s new restrictions for social isolation mean that all but key workers are meant to stay at home for the next few weeks.

However, some businesses are still asking employees to come in to work, putting them at greater risk of exposure to the virus.

A worker from the Dengie, who asked not to be named, claims their employer in the Chelmsford area is “putting money before people” was asking staff to go in.

They said: “I’ve worked here for around six months.

“We’ve been told that we need to continue to come into work despite the place I work not being essential.

“It is operating, apart from some office staff not being here, the same as it always has.”

“Lots of agency staff are not respecting the two-metre rule and the owners seem unwilling to close down, even though there is support from the Government.

“There was nothing communicated to the employees about closing, and no updates on how we should be working in this current situation regarding distancing, etc.”

The employee did not want to identify the company as it could put their job at risk.

They added: “Other employees are concerned.

“One told me she feels wrong coming to work and she is worried about picking up the virus.

“Yes, I do worry about picking up the virus and taking it home, especially as my wife is working from home and that a family member elsewhere has symptoms.

“I drive to work, luckily alone, but there are a lot of agency staff and they carpool.

“I’m not sure people would quit because they would be without money, which the same as me.

“I could survive on the 80 per cent the Government is offering, and I am doing all I can to stay away from groups, but some people can’t.”

They added: “It’s the most scary and stressful situation I’ve ever experienced and it demonstrates how silly and selfish some people are.”


The Government has detailed the non-essential premises which must close.

On the list are car showrooms, markets, hair and nail salons and all retail outlets.

Exceptions from the rule include supermarkets, health shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, laundrettes and dry cleaners, garages, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops, newsagents, post offices and banks.