COVID-19 Update

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Government’s road map out of lock down

On Sunday 10 May, the Prime Minister addressed the nation, announcing his ‘first sketch of a road map for reopening society’, which included a new five point COVID alert system to monitor the current threat level in the UK, and a three-step plan for the gradual easing of restrictions in the coming days, weeks and months, outlining what may begin to change, and the earliest date each step could start from. Subsequently, on Monday 11 May, more detailed information was published.

The full UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy can be read here, or summarised public guidance here.

 

 

Step one of the new guidance states that those who cannot work from home are now ‘actively encouraged’ to go back to work from 13 May, examples given are the manufacturing and construction sectors. If workers need to return to work, it is encouraged to avoid public transport where possible.

For those companies who may be reopening, new COVID-19 secure guidelines are now available to help businesses get up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible. The guidance is based on five key points:

  1. Work from home, if you can
  2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
  3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
  4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk 5. Reinforcing cleaning processes

The guides focus on 8 different sectors, but businesses may need direction from multiple guides. Click here to see the full set of guidance.

Step two of the post lock down plan suggests that non-essential retail businesses will begin to reopen in phases no earlier than 1 June. Government is set to issue further guidance on time frames and which businesses will be able to open.

Step three indicates that other sectors including personal care (such as hairdressers and beauty salons), public places (e.g. places of worship) and leisure facilities (such as cinemas) may begin to reopen no earlier than 1 July.

While some shops could start to reopen with schools, at the start of June, the hospitality industry will need to wait for stage three of the lock down, in July “at the earliest”, and only if there can be safe social distancing.

This phase of reopening will involve careful phasing and piloting due to the higher risk nature of some of these businesses in terms of physical contact. A new ministerial-led taskforces have been set up to plan how closed sectors can reopen safely.

 

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