Free rapid test kits for workplace testing expanded to all businesses

The UK Government has announced that ALL Knowsley businesses can now apply for FREE rapid (lateral flow) test kits to allow them to carry out regular workplace testing.

All businesses that wish to take part in the programme must register by the 31 March. The kits will be available until the end of June and can be ordered via a the online portal:

Originally targeted at businesses with 50 or more employees, the programme has been expanded to all businesses of all sizes as part of the government’s roadmap to lifting restrictions.

Workplace testing will play a vital role in helping businesses open their doors and support them to prevent break outs of the virus.

Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 don’t have symptoms, which means that they could be spreading the virus without knowing. Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) provide a result within 30 minutes and can enable positive cases to isolate and break the chain of transmission.

Regular testing, such as this programme, will play a crucial role in England moving down the roadmap and moving us all closer to normality.

Knowsley Council has been working in partnership with a number of local employers to explore workplace rapid testing, including Matalan. The pilots have proven very successful and enabled staff who are unable to work from home to operate within a safe environment.

Mike Jeans, Operations Director at Matalan, said: “Here at Matalan we want to do everything we can to ensure colleagues are safe while at work, so it was a great opportunity to partner with Knowsley Council.

The testing has enabled us to continue running our operations safely, at both our Knowsley DC and Head office, giving our colleagues the opportunity to get tested for Covid-19, reassuring everyone that they are working in a safe environment.

For us, our colleagues are Matalan’s greatest asset and we simply will not compromise on safety. Testing on site has meant that we can prevent any possibilities of an outbreak by isolating positive cases quickly and efficiently. Consequently, we’re then able to carry out the correct steps to ensure that colleagues are informed accordingly and contaminated areas and touch points are dealt with immediately, minimizing the spread of Covid-19.

I am pleased that Matalan can play their part in helping contain the spread of this virus, not just amongst our own workforce, but also our wider community here in Knowsley and Liverpool and would urge other businesses to do the same.”

Cllr Tony Brennan, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, said: “I am delighted that the free workplace testing programme has been opened up to businesses of all sizes and I would urge all Knowsley businesses to sign up.

“Regular testing is the only way we can continue to bring down cases and ensure that more restrictions are eased. It helps us identify cases without symptoms enabling us to break the chain of transmission, reduce the risk of an outbreak and help us stay on the road to recovery.

“I would also like to thank all everyone involved in the pilots that have taken place and I am delighted that they have been so successful.”

“Our SMART Testing sites are also supporting those who are unable to work from home and I would encourage employees to get tested at least twice a week.

Covid Business Support Leaflet