Who counts as a key worker?

Parents in particular have once again been left asking this question, after a number of schools across Hampshire partially closed on Monday (January 4).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a harsh national lockdown at 8pm in an address to the nation.

On Sunday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for an urgent national lockdown to be imposed within 24 hours, which would include online learning.

But, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had left parents in limbo when he said on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (December 3) "there is no doubt in my mind that schools are safe".

Key worker list

The news on Monday will have left families confused again.

In Scotland, it's been confirmed schools will stay shut, until at least February.

Of course, it matters so much because even if there is a tough nationwide shutdown - like the first one in March 2020 - schools will stay open on a small scale, for the children of those doing essential jobs.

For readers wondering who is a key worker, here is a reminder according to the Government's list:

Health and social care

This includes, but is not limited to, doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers and care workers.

It also includes other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; and those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

Education and childcare

This includes childcare, support and teaching staff.

It also covers social workers and specialist education professionals, who must remain active during the coronavirus response.

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, as well as journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting and reporting.

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the coronavirus response, and the delivery of and response to EU transition or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits, including government agencies and arms length bodies.

Food and other necessary goods

This is the category which covers supermarket staff, for example.

It also 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).

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 outbreak and EU transition).

The list also includes fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

Transport and border

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus response and EU transition, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass and those constructing or supporting the operation of critical transport and border infrastructure through which supply chains pass.

Utilities, communication and financial services

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.

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) are also featured on the list, as well as postal services and delivery payments providers and waste disposal sectors.