The government has shared the “first sketch of a roadmap for reopening society” and how the UK will restart its economy as it transitions out of the lockdown.
The roadmap’s first step will cover the period until 1 June at the earliest. The “first careful steps to modify our measures” include a change in the emphasis on the work from home policy. This means that employees should “work from home if you can” but “anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.”
Employees returning to work should “avoid public transport if at all possible – because we must and will maintain social distancing, and capacity will therefore be limited.” These employees are encouraged to commute by car, foot, or bicycle and the government is working to establish new guidance on the safety measures to take in workplaces.
Step two, on 1 June at the earliest, will include a “phased reopening of shops” and primary schools, in stages. Step three, by July at the earliest, aims to cover "some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing.”
A new slogan of “Stay alert, control the virus, save lives” also reflects the aims of this roadmap, and that the UK has passed its coronavirus peak.
The roadmap is a conditional plan, based on the five tests below, and can still be adjusted if the conditions aren’t met:
- Ensure the NHS can cope
- See a “consistent and sustained” fall in the death rate
- Decrease the rate of infection
- Ensure testing and PPE can meet the right standards and demand
- Avoid a second peak, keeping the “reproduction rate of the disease - the R” below one
A new Covid Alert System will support these five tests, to assess “how tough we have to be in our social distancing measures”. The alert is currently set at level four, with the transitional measures intending to move on to level three.
This article is intended as a guide only, and primarily applies to England rather than the devolved governments. It is not exhaustive and does not constitute legal advice. It will be updated in the coming days as further details are announced, including those specific to the lettings industry. For more information, please see gov.uk.