This has been difficult and slow going due to the restrictions we have on numbers of staff allowed on site and constraints on how and where they can work – it means things are taking much longer than would normally be the case. None the less we have made good progress, and we expect to reopen all of our Facilities at the beginning of August.
For this reopening we expect to be able to have some users on site participating in experiments (~30%-50% of normal) assisted by CLF staff, with others having to join remotely. We have put in place numerous systems to enable remote users to interact with data and diagnostics. We will endeavour to keep the experiment order broadly similar to the previous schedule, albeit revised in terms of start date, although this will not be possible in every case because of availability of staff and equipment. It is also very likely that some experiments will take longer to complete. If you have an experiment that was scheduled prior to Lockdown, the relevant group will be in touch shortly, if they haven't already done so. Facilities like Ridgeway House, Coseners House, Taxis, Transport, Canteen (take away only) etc should also be operational from that point onwards.
The new COVID-19 controls in place mean that CLF and RAL in general will be different environments to what you have experienced before. All persons entering site, including users, will need to complete mandatory STFC and CLF COVID-19 training and be authorised in advance to do so. The CLF has implemented a system of fixed Teams in fixed Zones in order to limit the potential exposure from potentially infected individuals and to facilitate contact tracing in the event of someone becoming ill. This is somewhat restrictive compared to normal, but necessary at the moment and are being rigorously enforced.
All that said, we all very much look forward to seeing you back at RAL doing experiments !
Professor John Ll. Collier FLSW