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Coronavirus Kent: Serco boss defends Canterbury binmen who 'forgot about social distancing'

The boss of a crew of binmen pictured standing close together has defended his staff - who had "briefly forgotten" about the new coronavirus social distancing restrictions.

A photo of the Serco workers taking a break in Canterbury after a "tough shift" was shared on social media yesterday.

The Serco staff had just finished a tough shift
The Serco staff had just finished a tough shift

Since the government instructed people to stay at home in order to slow the spread of Covid-19, more and more Facebook users are posting images of people apparently flouting the rules.

After the lockdown was announced on Monday night, a group of people having a barbecue on Hythe beach attracted criticism on social media - and were dispersed by police.

And the picture of the binmen in Canterbury not following the rule to stand two metres apart also sparked scores of comments.

Canterbury City Council spokesman Rob Davies has since posted a clarification on Facebook from Serco's operations manager Lucas Butler.

Mr Butler said: "This is a crew that had just finished a tough shift after starting early and had briefly forgotten as they shared a break together.

"We are providing our crews with all of the relevant guidance and are practicing the two metre rule as often as we can, including drivers coming into the office one at a time to collect keys and paperwork."

The Serco crews are carrying out vital work during the Covid-19 lockdown
The Serco crews are carrying out vital work during the Covid-19 lockdown

He said crews are being provided with all of the correct personal protective equipment, including gloves, hand sanitiser and wipes.

"I’m personally reminding them to distance from each other often," he added.

"The simple reality is that they are working hard, tired and sometimes they forget as they are only human after all. I will, of course, continue to reiterate the rules and keep our guys a safe distance apart.

"This is massively outweighed by the cards, letters and pictures crews are seeing in gratitude for working hard and cracking on."

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