Coronavirus advice and information

What is coronavirus

Coronavirus is a new illness caused by a virus that affects lungs and airways. In the UK, Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public to high.

Health services have further information on the symptoms of coronavirus and on how to reduce the spread of infection 

Latest information

Governments are releasing daily information about the spread of coronavirus 

Ongoing actions to support members and Registered Organisations during the COVID-19 outbreak

We know that this is an incredibly stressful and uncertain time for our industry and want to offer our support where we can. Please download the document from the link below to read the immediate actions CIfA has taken so far. The include changes to applications for concessionary subscription rates and accredited application fees

Advice on site working during the COVID-19 outbreak

CIfA's advice is to follow the government advice in whatever region you are working in. Specifically, this means that at this time, some site-based archaeological work can still be undertaken. However, this should only be done so where there is no clear risk to either archaeological workers, other workers or the wider public.

We are advising members and Registered Organisation to include the risks to staff and the public from coronavirus as part of their risk assessments and, where those risks cannot be mitigated (ie where it is not possible to follow government guidance to stay 2m apart, including transport to and from site, welfare conditions on site, and plans for adverse weather conditions) we are advising that work should cease.

CIfA endorses Prospect's guidelines for archaeologists working on construction sites in the UK, which responds to perceived weaknesses in the Construction Leadership Council's Site Operating Guidelines. We are also working with Registered Organisations to share good practice examples with the intention of helping to define common standards across the industry.

As of 29 April the UK Government confirmed that construction workers (this includes archaeologists working on constructions sites) are eligible to apply for Coronavirus testing if they exhibit symptoms. Click here for details of how to book a test.

See the link below for our full advice.

Standards and guidance advice

We have been contacted by a few members about the effects that the coronavirus pandemic is already having, or has the potential to have, on working practices across the historic environment sector. As a result, we thought it would be useful to share the following advice related to the potential impacts on working practices and concerns related to adherence to the CIfA Standards and guidance.

Impacts on archaeology in the UK planning systems

ALGAO UK and CIfA have published a statement on adapting to challenges to archaeology in the planning system. The statement notes that contractors and clients may need to adjust expectations as to whether work is possible at the current time. However, archaeology remains a necessary part of planning and pre-application evaluation requirements and on-site mitigation works necessary for the fulfilment of planning conditions are still expected to be completed as they would with any other planning requirements. Where works cannot be undertaken safely, in accordance with professional standards, and to the level necessary to satisfy planning rules these works may need to be delayed. 

We encourage members to closely consult with your local authority archaeologist and to consider what alternative options could be appropriate, for example delaying the work or changing methodology/approach for the best project outcome. 

CIfA events and meetings

Based on the outcome of the UK government's COBRA meeting about COVID-19 on Monday, 16 March 2020, we are sorry to say the CIfA conference will be postponed and all UK Group events in the near future are cancelled. However, whether you are working from home or self-isolating at the moment its important to keep up to date with the latest developments and continue to develop and expand your knowledge of archaeology and the heritage sector. If you are in a position to add to your CPD during this time we have some suggestions that might be useful

Guidance for employers and businesses

We would encourage employers, as some Registered Organisations have already done, to inform staff of any contingency plans you have in place and to make them aware of your policies in relation to self-isolation and the payment of sick pay/salaries. We understand that any requirements for self-isolation/sick leave could place a significant financial burden on individuals and businesses, but we hope that employers will continue to pay staff during this time.

CIfA is welcoming feedback from members on the support measures and other challenges facing businesses due to Coronavirus. Please click here to get in touch with us.

Self-employed individuals

Other resources

The Heritage Alliance have created a live hub of links for advice and support from a wide range of sources.

The CBA have created a Coronavirus archaeology resource hub with varying resources which offer support and guidance.

Built Environment Forum Scotland has collected a list of resources from organisations in Scotland.