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Back to work? Government lockdown release plan revealed

Back to work? Government lockdown release plan revealed

11th May 2020 - Published by Kuits employment team

Lockdown Release Plan

Updated 5:00pm, Monday 11 May 2020

In last night’s televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a “conditional plan” to reopen society and relax some of the lockdown measures.

The plans are far from the detailed “roadmap” that many expected and could be withdrawn at any time if the risk of infection increases. In short, he announced the following plans to restart the economy:

  • From “today”, workers who “cannot work from home” will be “actively encouraged to go to work”;
  • However, people should still avoid public transport where possible because social distancing will be in place and capacity will be limited;
  • The government is also working on guidance for employers to make workplaces “COVID-19 secure”.

Mr Johnson also proposed a gradual reopening of primary schools in June, which will help some parents return to work.

He also gave encouragement to some employers in the hospitality industry by suggesting that they may be able to reopen by July 1 at the earliest. This morning, the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab has since clarified that outdoor cafes and restaurants may be the first businesses in the sector to reopen on July 4 provided that customers can sit two metres apart.

Later today, it is expected the government will publish more detailed guidelines on how businesses can reopen safely.

As we go through the week, we are also expecting further clarification in relation to the lifespan of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.  The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has stated that the government want to avoid a “cliff edge” and are looking at how the wage support initiative can be wound down. Speculation is that the level of wage support may be reduced from 80% to 60% while the monthly cap of £2500 could also be lowered.  In countries such as France and Germany, similar ‘furlough’ schemes have been adapted to allow employees to work part time and build up their hours over a few months.

“Our plan to rebuild: The UK’s Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy” has now been published and can be accessed by clicking HERE.  We will providing further detail on the Plan shortly.

Get in touch with an employment lawyer in Manchester

Our experienced advisors are already talking to employers about the journey back to work. If you require any advice please call Mark McKeating on 0161 838 7810 or email

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