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Coronavirus Recovery: an overview of The UK Government’s phased strategy

The Government has now published detailed guidance outlining how it hopes the country will gradually return to some normality in three phases, with key dates on 13 May, 1 June, and 4 July.

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Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 10 May regarding the first steps out of the lockdown  the Government has now published detailed guidance called  “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s Covid-19 Recovery Strategy. This sets out three distinct phases outlining how the Government hopes the country will gradually return to some normality in three phases with key dates on 13 May, 1 June, and 4 July.

Phase 1 – 13 May 2020

The Government has confirmed that those workers who can work from home should continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Workers who cannot work from home, such as those in the construction and manufacturing sectors, should now be ‘actively encouraged’ to return to work but avoid using public transport if possible.

The Government has also relaxed its guidance to allow paid childcare (e.g. nurseries) to reopen providing that they are able to operate in accordance with public health guidance. Hospitality and non-essential retail businesses should remain closed.

If social distancing is not possible, for example on public transport, then  people should  wear a face covering (although not PPE such as a surgical mask).

The restrictions on exercise have been relaxed to allow unlimited outdoor exercise, and golf  and tennis clubs can  open provided they implement  social distancing.

Phase 2 – 1 June 2020

The aim is to introduce a phased return for schools from 1 June, starting with early years with smaller class sizes. The priority will be ensuring that those children preparing for the transition to secondary school have time with their teachers before the summer holidays.

This phase will also see non-essential retail shops open where it is safe to do so and  social distancing is practised. Hospitality businesses will remain closed.

Cultural and sporting events will return, but only to be broadcast behind closed doors to avoid the risk of large-scale social contact that risks spreading the coronavirus.

Phase 3 – 4 July 2020

The Government’s ambition is that during this third and final phase the remaining businesses and facilities will be able to reopen, including:

  • Hair and beauty salons and barbers;
  • Hospitality (e.g. pubs, restaurants and accommodation);
  • Places of worship; and
  • Leisure facilities (e.g. cinemas).

However, only those businesses where it is safe to open will be able to do so. Those that  cannot safely implement  social distancing will have to remain closed.  The Government is  set to publish “Covid-19 Secure” guidelines next week, which will outline  new safety guidelines on how  workplaces can be adapted to operate to minimise the spread of the virus.

The situation will be closely monitored by the Government and if there is a second spike in the spread of the virus, we can expect changes or modifications to these proposals and the timelines for implementation.

If you have any questions on this topic or any other, please contact our free 30 minute Coronavirus Employment Advice Helpline and we can help you to consider the options available to you and your business.

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Alastair Ward-Booth

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