Staff issues continued to dominate the Covid-19 Forum in the past 24 hours. The government’s clarification that all practices should close except for emergencies has led many to furlough their staff. The forum has been rich with advice and templates for practices owners to use when taking the decision to stand staff down. Copies can be found on the forum. You can join the forum here: .

Of particular interest has been the situation for husband and wife team who are both directors. The forum has been told that directors do not qualify for the government’s scheme of 80% of pay for those on furlough. Further advice was being sought.

Other issues of employment law specifically related to Covid-19 were circulated in a document by a forum member from Wales that was warmly greeted by those seeking help.

The risk to optical professionals when dealing with patients also continued to be of interest with a poster from the College of Optometrists also coming under fire. Practices are generally asking patients to call first before coming to a practice with an optical emergency and the poster released by the College has been amended to that effect by some. Discussion suggests non-urgent hospital follow ups should not be undertaken. Another questioner asked about eye examinations for heavy goods vehicle drivers in key roles. Others suggested eye exams for key workers should continue as necessary.

A report in the Daily Mail linking conjunctivitis with Covid-19 was also mentioned. Practices were warned to expect a rush of worried patients.

The Hakim Group has told forum members that the next webinar will take place on Thursday March 25 at 9.00pm. Optician has provided joining instructions.

On a slightly lighter note one practitioner was dismayed to have a customer asking for access to the practice to browse the frames on display. Other practices reported that they had removed frames either to spring clean the practice or to deter break-ins.