The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy

The UK Government published its plan for easing coronavirus lockdown measures on 11 May 2020. ‘Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy’ includes an outline of when different parts of the economy can reopen, plans to develop smarter controls to limit the spread of coronavirus, and advice on social distancing. This guide provides an overview of the Government’s recovery strategy.

A phased recovery

The UK Government has outlined a phased COVID-19 recovery strategy. As part of phase two, the UK Government has set out a three-step approach for easing lockdown restrictions in England:

  • Since 13 May, anyone who cannot work from home, such as workers in the construction and manufacturing sectors, should be encouraged to return to work. The only exceptions to this are those workplaces which the Government is requiring to remain closed. Those who can work from home should continue to do so.
  • On 1 June, the UK Government started the phased reopening of some areas of the economy. From 15 June, non-essential retailers will be able to reopen as long as they are able to demonstrate measures are in place to control coronavirus-related risks.
  • On 4 July, the Government started reopening some of the remaining businesses that have been required to close, including personal care (such as hairdressers), hospitality (such as food service providers, pubs and accommodation) and some leisure facilities (like cinemas).

For the full list of businesses and venues that must remain closed, go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance.

The exact timing and implementation of measures and adjustments during phase two will depend on the most up to date assessment of the risk posed by coronavirus. Phase three will come into effect when reliable treatment for COVID-19 is available.

The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy

Prime Minister announces national lockdown

On 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown in England and instructed people to stay at home. The restrictions include:

  • Outdoor sports venues, such as golf courses, tennis courts and outside gyms, must close.
  • Non-essential retail, indoor leisure (such as swimming pools and gyms), indoor entertainment (such as cinemas and casinos), and personal care sectors must all close.
  • Hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes must close except for takeaway, click-and-collect and drive-through. However, takeaway alcohol is banned.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs and guest houses must close and can only open for a guest in limited and specific circumstances.
  • Rules on support bubbles and childcare bubbles will remain as currently, and communal worship can continue to take place.
  • Residents must not stay overnight away from home unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so.
  • Residents must not leave or be outside of their home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’, such as for work, to buy essentials, for education and care, for exercise, or to visit people in your support bubble. 

Find out more about the restrictions.

 

Reopening businesses and returning to work

COVID-19 Secure guidelines

Businesses that reopen will be required to follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines, which are safety guidelines that set out how each type of physical space can be adapted to operate safely. The guidelines will help keep the risk of infection as low as possible, as well as support people to return to work safely.

The UK Government has been consulting relevant sectors, industry bodies, local authorities, trade unions, the Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England on their development. The guides cover a range of different types of work including:

  • Construction and outdoor work.
  • Factories, plants and warehouses.
  • Labs and research facilities.
  • Offices and contact centres.
  • Working in other people’s homes.
  • Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services.
  • Shops and branches.
  • Vehicles.
  • Close contact services.
  • The visitor economy.
  • Hotels and other guest accommodation.

To read the guidance, go to www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Travelling to work

When travelling to work, people should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. If they can, people should cycle, walk or drive to work to limit the number of people with whom they come into close contact.

Social distancing guidance on public transport must be followed. Passengers are also required to wear a face-covering on public transport in England.

London moved into tier 4 on Sunday 20 December

London moved into a new tier 4 level of coronavirus restrictions on Sunday 20 December. The restrictions, which are broadly equivalent to the national restrictions that were introduced in England in November, include:

  • Non-essential retail, indoor leisure (such as swimming pools and gyms), indoor entertainment (such as cinemas and casinos), and personal care sectors must all close.
  • Hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes must close except for takeaway, delivery and click-and-collect services.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs and guest houses must close and can only open for a guest in limited and specific circumstances.
  • People should not enter or leave tier 4 areas. Where people cannot work from home, they should still travel to work.
  • Rules on support bubbles and childcare bubbles will remain as currently, and communal worship can continue to take place.
  • Residents must not stay overnight away from home unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so.
  • Residents in tier 4 must not leave or be outside of their home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’, such as for work, to buy essentials, for education and care, for exercise, or to visit people in your support bubble. 

The restrictions will be reviewed on 30 December.

Find out more about the tier 4 restrictions.

Further information

 

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