The stay at home mantra has worked, so it has been changed to Stay Alert for the start of the next phase.
Part one is to encourage businesses to take full advantage of all the options that are already available under the current rules, to open workplaces and get employees back to work.
“All workers who cannot work from home, should travel to work if their workplace is open”
Some business premises were instructed to close, all employees were instructed to work from home if they could; but many businesses closed amid health and safety concerns or because the government offered furlough options for workers, and it is these business that are now being encouraged to address these concerns and get back to work.
Relevant parties have been consulted and new guidance produced on what may be acceptable health and safety measures and hence the changes businesses need to implement in order to make the workplace safe and hence allow workers back to work. Unfortunately, there are many who are not happy with the government for promoting a return to work, but without getting back to work then businesses will fold and there will be no work to go back to. It is therefore up to each and every business to take health and safety seriously and involve all staff and unions to deal with concerns.
How people get to work is also an issue. Driving is advised over public transport, with plans for wider pavements and more cycle lanes to encourage cycling and walking. The government are promoting the cycle to work scheme (where bicycles supplied by employers are tax free). A homemade face covering is recommended if traveling on public transport.
Hopefully the above will be enough to keep the economy and hence the country afloat for the time being.
Unfortunately, other concerns remain, such as childcare and the shielding of vulnerable persons. The furlough scheme is still running to help these people but is it enough?
There is also the continuing instruction to self-isolate if anyone in your household has symptoms, and NOT go to work.
Life is difficult for anyone with a combination of circumstances – no wonder the press is advertising this as unclear.
Part two is to relax leisure travel guidance from Wednesday, all subject to social distancing
- There will be no limit on the number of times you leave home to exercise
- You will now be officially allowed to travel, to get to somewhere to exercise, or just for a drive.
- You will be able to stop in the park etc, for a rest, picnic or to sunbathe – but still only with members of your household.
- You may travel to the beach or any open space – but only in England
- Tennis and Golf clubs can open, but not club houses. At tennis, you may play singles with those who are not members of your household
- Garden centres are being officially allowed to open
Remember Wales and Scotland are still promoting Say at Home – so do not cross borders in your travels.