Today, Boris Johnson announced that the next stage of the roadmap out of lockdown will go ahead from next week in England.
Case rates remain low. This means the government will be hearing the following question a lot over the next few weeks:
“How much longer is this going to go on for?”
The roadmap so far
As previously announced, England’s roadmap out of lockdown comes in stages. This began on 8 March 2021 with the reopening of schools for children of all ages. The next big date was 12 April 2021, in which non-essential retail was permitted to reopen and outdoor hospitality could resume. At each step, the government has assessed the impact of lifting restrictions through the following four tests:
- continued success of the vaccine rollout
- evidence that the jabs are continuing to reduce hospitalisation and death from the virus
- infection rates remaining under control
- the risk from a new variant of the virus remaining low.
17th May Changes
What are they?
With the data looking favourable, the government is happy to go ahead with the next stage of the plan. From Monday 17 May, the following will take effect:
- pubs and restaurants can reopen for indoor service. This will have to be done with social distancing restrictions, including the rule of six. There will, however, be no restrictions on the serving of alcohol and customers will not need to buy food to be served alcoholic drinks
- up to 30 people can meet for outdoor hospitality service
- other indoor venues, such as cinemas and soft-play centres, can reopen, again with social distancing in place
- up to 30 people can attend weddings, receptions, wakes and funerals.
Traveling overseas for non-essential purposes will no longer be against the law. However, a traffic light system will be in place.
Countries labelled ‘green’ can be travelled to with no need to isolate upon return.
Countries labelled ‘amber’ requires a 10-day isolation period upon return.
Countries labelled ‘red’ requires travellers to quarantine in a government mandated hotel, at their own cost.
For a full list of which countries fall into which category, alongside testing requirements for travel, please click here.
Rules surrounding working from home will remain the same for now.
This means staff should still be permitted to work from home if they can. In the meantime, vaccines continue to be distributed as fast as supply allows. You should continue to encourage employees to receive both jabs when offered. The furlough scheme will remain an option for eligible organisations and staff until the end of September 2021. However, changes as to how the scheme is funded are expected from 1 July 2021.
Organisations will now be in a position to ask even more staff to return to the workplace. If you intend to do this, you should make sure you are prepared to bring them back with a full risk assessment.
You should also prepare for an influx in requests for annual leave. This will become particularly prominent as overseas travel becomes an option. Find out how to manage excess annual leave requests here.
The final date
The final date in the government’s roadmap is currently 21 June 2021. This will see the majority of remaining restrictions lifted. All remaining businesses, such as nightclubs, will be able to reopen. Whether a form of social distancing will need to remain in place, including the mandatory wearing of facemasks, is yet to be confirmed.
Expert support throughout lockdown
Whether you’re re-opening for the first time, bringing more staff back, or managing ongoing employee issues, Croner is here to support you. Speak to one of our expert advisers at any hour, any day, on 01455 858 132.