A MAN who works as a meter reader is still having to visit the homes of dozens of people every week despite changes to government coronavirus rules.

Chris Mitchell from Richmond, works for Morrison Data Services which is based in Newcastle.

Mr Mitchell said: "They are still making us go out and read meters inside people's houses all because they reckon the big five gas/electric companies still want meter reads and the loop hole they are using is safety that we are allowed to enter property because of that.

"With this new Covid-19 variant and the transmission percentage rate they justify our safety because they issue us with face masks and hand sanitiser.

"It is unbelievable, my wife is in the vulnerable category she has Rheumatoid Arthritis and COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease] so I'm having to put her at risk they also make out we are key workers which I doubt we are, we have seen no confirmation of this only emails coming down from the managing director stating all the floss that companies put out to justify their actions about its what our customers want and we have full confidence in our Covid-19 protocols.

"They are literally giving us no choice we don't have an option to be furloughed, employees in my situation with a vulnerable member of the family are being forced to put their loved one's lives at risk.

"The drugs [my wife] has to take are immune suppressants so she has even more chance of dying if she does catch it.

"I can't believe she is not categorised as should be shielding. The

advice is to stay home and save lives. We can't, the company also did the same thing in November it needs bringing to public attention since November a lot of people can't believe we've been sent out and a lot quite rightly refuse entry so our frontline experience totally contradicts what the company is putting out."

Mr Mitchell said he can be in up to 30 different houses a day, every day.

He said: "It isn't just the same house - in a week it's hundreds of houses. Quite a lot people don't understand why we're being sent out."

A spokesperson for Morrison Data Services, said: "Following a review of the latest government guidance, and discussions with our energy supplier clients, we are continuing to operate at this time but this is subject to daily reviews and has already seen reduced services with some energy suppliers.

"This has been made possible by the major investment we have made in PPE, processes and training since March 2020 in order to conform with each country’s guidance across the UK.

"Since the start of January, we have furloughed vulnerable staff in line with the latest Job Retention scheme guidance, as well as those with vulnerable householders, as defined in these schemes. We will continue to review with our staff on a one to one basis."