For most the major change in the recent lockdown easing is the shift of emphasis around work – if you can’t work from home, you should go to work, rather than simply being allowed to do so.
Employers are now focusing on plans to reopen their businesses within the new guidelines, which include social distancing, PPE for those staff who need it and many practical decisions about how their workforce can move safely around the workplace, including in communal spaces like kitchens and toilets.
Social distancing is at the heart of the beginning of the return to work, and to the changes allowed after the Prime Minister’s statement on Sunday. Where people cannot be two metres apart at work, employers will have to consider changing shift patterns, putting barriers in shared spaces, or using one-way systems, as well as increasing cleaning frequency and efficiency. All of this comes with the warning that employers should take all reasonable steps to help people to work from home – we cover the key questions on returning to work here.
With so many decisions to make, take a moment to review the Q&A from our recent Business Survival during Covid-19 webinar.
While construction sites, manufacturing businesses and some of the retail sector can now get up and running again, the property sector particularly was given a boost today with the news that house moves can go ahead, as can viewings and appointments with lettings or estate agents. Kate Potter took a look for us at how that will work.
In England we can all now travel to exercise, meet up with one friend or family member in a public place, play golf, tennis or basketball, swim in lakes or the sea, have a picnic or sunbathe – keeping two metres between ourselves and anyone else throughout.
Some businesses will not be able to reopen until July at the earliest – leisure centres and gyms, most of the hospitality sector, cinemas and theatres, hairdressers and beauty salons and many others where close contact or large gatherings make social distancing difficult.
The furlough scheme will continue until October but the funding offered to employers is likely to change from the end of July – your questions on the scheme are answered in our FAQs here.