Boris Johnson has announced a potential lockdown roadmap for England regarding the easing of lockdown restrictions. We know what this means for us as individuals, but what should you be doing if you are a business owner?
The lockdown roadmap will allow a slow and steady easing of restrictions, with the hopes of all UK businesses to eventually reopen in 2021. Companies are therefore preparing to open their doors to customers again, ensuring they understand all of the necessary precautions and are aware of which dates are applicable to their industry.
This roadmap indicates estimated dates in which we may expect to have some restrictions being eased. The dates suggested are preliminary and are subject to change in line with the developments of the virus and the data collected over the coming weeks and months.
From 12th April, a large list of businesses will be allowed to reopen. This includes all retail, personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons, outdoor hospitality with no ‘substantial meal’ requirements and no curfew, domestic overnight stays in self-contained accommodation (for those in the same household only), indoor leisure such as gyms and spas (not including saunas and steam rooms), outdoor attractions such as zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas, and libraries and community centres.
From 17th May, other areas of businesses will begin to operate again. This includes indoor hospitality with table-ordering services and no curfew, indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, museums and theatres, remaining outdoor entertainment such as performances, organised indoor adult sport such as badminton, and remaining accommodation such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs. At this time, international travel will be subject for review.
From 21st June, there will no longer be any legal limits on social contact or life events, meaning that all remaining closed settings (including nightclubs and large theatre performances) can be reopened.
These steps, of course, are subject to the vaccine deployment programme continuing successfully, along with evidence to support the effectiveness of the vaccines. Another determining factor is the rates of infection, providing that they do not risk hospitalisation at a level that will put too much pressure on the NHS. New variants will also be monitored as they risk fundamentally changing the government’s assessment of possible lockdown lifting.
Details on the future of the government furlough scheme for both businesses and workers have not yet been clarified, however we are expecting more on furlough updates in the coming weeks.
If your business is preparing to reopen, ensure that you have completed the following:
- Un-furlough staff
- Cancel any out-of-office messages, such as phone and email
- Reinstate essential services, such as waste removal
- Ensure you have adequate stock of hand soap, hand sanitiser and paper towels
- If not, make sure to purchase consumables (paper towel, facial tissues, bin bags, hand sanitiser, wipes, gloves, PPE equipment etc)
- Arrange contract cleaners
- Ensure you have adequate floor signage, such as 2m markings
- Wall and message signs
- If your business premises gets busy, you may want to install barriers for customers for safe queuing and social distancing
- Separation screens for areas where social distancing isn’t possible
- Check heating utilities such as gas and electricity
- Reinstate your Emergency Action Plan. This is in place should someone an employee develop coronavirus symptoms
It is important to note that, even with lockdown restrictions easing, businesses and individuals must still adhere to social distancing and regular hand washing to help prevent the spread of infection. Laws on social distancing still remain throughout, up until the government officially announces otherwise.
For a complete list of lockdown roadmap details, please consult the gov.uk’s article, and a full list of working safely during coronavirus can be found here. This is once again subject to change, and guidance will be updated accordingly.