Key workers: Are bin men key workers?

Key workers are the frontline employees who belong to industries which are deemed vital to public health and safety amid the coronavirus lockdown. Only these workers are permitted to continue their work with as little restriction as possible.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson implemented a lockdown in the UK on Monday.

To reduce day-to-day social contact between people and slow the spread of the infection, the government implemented three lockdown measures.

These include:

  • Requiring people stay at home, except for very limited purposes.
  • Closing all non-essential shops and community spaces.
  • Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.


  • Government coronavirus text: How does the Government have my number?

Now, you are only permitted to leave your home for the following four reasons:

  • Shopping for essentials
  • One form of exercise per day
  • Any medical need or to provide care or assist a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling to and from work.

The government has identified a list of critical workers who may still travel to work provided they cannot work from home.

These key workers are those whose work is deemed critical to the COVID-19 response.

The list has been separated into the following eight categories:

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Key public services
  • Local and national government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services.

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  • Construction and lockdown: Why are construction sites still open?

Are bin men key workers?

Bin men fall under the utilities, communication and financial services.

The website describes this section as: “This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.”

Some bin collections in the UK have been stopped and rubbish tips are shut in parts of the country.

Garden bins and recycling collections are on hold in many areas as household and clinical waste has been prioritised.

Many areas have suspended green waste and bulk waste collection.

Some councils across the country have reported lower staffing levels due to self-isolation and therefore other employees have been redeployed to support essential services.

Waste collections may be subject to change and therefore you advised to check your council website here to see if any changes have been made to your normal collection.

A senior Whitehall source told The Times: “Councils may well have to look at less frequent bin collections, or prioritising certain routes or areas, and will be in close communication with residents about this nearer the time.

“Councils do clean back streets less frequently than main roads.

“For example, you might see the high street being cleaned every other day rather than every day, or the back streets with low footfall being cleaned every 10 days instead of every week.”

Do you have any questions about the coronavirus, self-isolating or the Government lockdown?

Get in touch with us and will ask an expert to find the answers for you. Email your question to [email protected]

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