A CAKE factory where one employee died from coronavirus and where infections are on the rise has brought in strict new policies to combat the illness.

Bakkavor Desserts, which is based on the Hopton Industrial Estate, Devizes, has said it has introduced new payments of staff that have the virus and have to self-isolate and a new bus service.

A spokesman said: “Bakkavor Desserts in Devizes has announced further measures it has put in place, on top of the on-site controls that have already been implemented, to support and protect its colleagues during the current COVID outbreak.

“The company is giving a ‘top up’ payment to full basic pay to those colleagues who are confirmed as having the virus or who are self-isolating during this current Covid-19 outbreak period.

“In addition, to minimise car sharing Bakkavor has also organised a bus service for its colleagues travelling between Swindon and Devizes which will be operational from Sunday 16 August. It will be mandatory for colleagues to wear face coverings and social distance whilst on the bus and government guidance on safer transport will be applied.”

Shona Taylor, business director of Bakkavor Desserts, said: “The health and safety of our colleagues has and always will be our foremost priority and as a responsible employer we are doing everything we can to protect and support them.

“We hope that these additional measures demonstrate that we recognise the financial burden our colleagues may face whilst having to self-isolate during this outbreak and that we are actively working to minimise the spread of the virus by providing this transport option.

“We are continuing to work closely with Public Health to ensure we are doing everything possible as a business for our colleagues and to help control the spread of the virus within the community.”

Rachel Kent, public health consultant at Wiltshire Council, said: “Throughout this outbreak Bakkavor have worked closely with Public Health England and Wiltshire Council.

“We are pleased that the bakery has taken the decision to provide a top-up to those staff required to take time off work if they are confirmed as having the virus or required to self-isolate. This positive action will ensure that employees can follow guidance without worrying about lost income which will help stop the transmission of the virus.

“Employees not observing social distancing guidance whilst car sharing has also been an issue throughout this outbreak. We are pleased that from Sunday 16 August a bus service, paid for by the bakery, will be provided for employees between Swindon and Devizes to coincide with shift changeover times. We would strongly encourage employees to make use of this service rather than car share to ensure that the correct social distancing measures can be observed. The most important thing everyone can do is to continue to observe social distancing guidelines and practice good hand hygiene to help stop the spread of the virus.”