22 Feb 2021
The “irreversible” roadmap has been announced, and there are some key points for employers across the country.
In this summary we’ll focus on the areas of the announcement that affect you and your employees. The Prime Minister emphasised that the focus was on “data, not dates”. For many businesses however, the date they can possible re-open will be vitally important. Here, we shall note the dates you can re-open with the caveat that this timeline may change depending on reviews and guidance.
Roadmap out of lockdown
Step 1: Schools re-opening – 8 March 2021
One of the first industries to fully reopen will be the education sector. This doesn’t just have implications for those working in education however, it will impact workplaces everywhere.
Employees with children will have a school-run once again. This means previous working arrangements you made with staff (remote or otherwise) may be impacted. To get ahead of any issues that might occur, speak to affected employees about their arrangements. Find out they require any changes or additional support now children are back in school.
You may be able to return to work or normal working hours now staff have children back in school.
Note: although not an official "step", some outdoor facilities will be allowed to reopen on the 29th March, including outdoor sports facilities, such as basketball courts and golf courses.
Step 2: Retail, salons & more – 12 April 2021
From this date, non-essential retail can open, as can hairdressers, libraries, and museums. A number of outdoor settings will also be allowed to reopen, including beer gardens, zoos, and themes parks. Finally, a few indoor settings will be allowed to reopen, including gyms and indoor swimming pools.
The key thing to remember if your business falls within this category is that social contact rules will continue to apply. That means you’ll need to ensure your workplace is COVID-secure for employees, visitors, and customers.
Bear in mind, guidance may change as restrictions are eased. So, if you need assistance making your workplace COVID-secure, no matter where we are in the roadmap out of lockdown, speak to one of our health & safety advisers today.
Step 3: Hospitality & entertainment – 17 May 2021
From this date, the hospitality industry will begin to reopen. Another sector that will begin to open wider is the entertainment industry. Live performances, cinemas and sporting events can be held, albeit with social distancing in place.
Step 4: Other businesses – 21 June 2021
The final step will see all legal limits on social contact removed. This means businesses such as nightclubs will be able to reopen, and restrictions on weddings and funerals will be abolished.
With this step so contingent on the success of the previous three, it’s important to remember that this date may be moved and the measures may be different. The government has already warned that some elements of social distancing may need to remain even until 2022. With this in mind, don’t plan for a workplace free of restrictions.
Getting your people back to work is a challenge, but not an unprecedented one. Now, you have time to prepare and prioritise. Getting your HR processes in order before the date you are set to reopen will lead to a successful return. If you need assistance, we are here to help.
One of the key elements missing in the Prime Minister’s announcement was news on further financial support for businesses throughout the year. Possible extensions to furlough, among other schemes, are likely to be announced along with the Chancellor’s budget next week.
However, if you’re facing difficult decisions now, don’t wait to address them. Speak to a Croner adviser today on 01455 858 132.
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