Nadhim Zahawi says firms need to follow social distancing guidelines

Construction minister Nadhim Zahawi has once again said construction sites should remain open despite the growing risk from the coronavirus outbreak.

In a tweet, Zahawi (pictured) said: "For sectors like #construction and #manufacturing, it's not always possible for employees to work from home.

"Construction work should continue in a way that follows guidance from @PHE_uk including on social distancing & handwashing."


But Zahawi, who some in the industry have complained has not been visible enough during the crisis, came in for flak for his tweet.

Responding directly to him, one Twitter user said: "You’ve obviously never worked on a construction site. It’s impossible to work keeping 1m apart never mind two. Most trades require two men to lift or hold items in position whilst fixing etc. Herd immunity policy is killing people."

Another said: "It is simply impossible for large construction sites to enforce social distancing. Please visit any of the major sites in London and you will see this is the case. Furthermore lots of sites are running low on basic hygiene supplies like hand gel."

A number of industry figures have vented their frustration at Zahawi's lack of support for the industry throughout the covid-19 crisis with one major contractor saying: "He has just disappeared."

Zahawi's Twitter handle includes the hashtag #StayHomeSaveLives.

>> What to do if coronavirus means your project gets shut down
>> Webinar - sign up now - Covid-19’s impact on construction: The legal view
>> Coronavirus and construction: The latest