Following the Prime Minister’s address yesterday, the government has published “OUR PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy”. You can read the full guidance here.  Our summary of the 60 page document is as follows:

  • Phase 1 was containing the virus. A phased recovery is planned, and is largely dependent on keeping the Reproduction Rate -R- below 1. The government has repeatedly stressed all the measures below are contingent on the R rate. If it rises, they will apply the brakes.
  • Phase 2, stresses that handwashing, social distancing, limiting the number of social contacts, reducing the exposure of vulnerable groups and shielding extremely vulnerable and self isolation and quarantining of households that are symptomatic or diagnosed all remain central. The message to “stay alert”, recognises that some people cannot work from home and provides modest steps to allow them to return to Covid-19 secure workplaces.

Step One of Phase Two includes:

  • There is a slight change of emphasis towards facilitating a return to Covid-19 secure workplaces for those who cannot work from home. Guidance is expected on what constitutes Covid-19 Secure workplaces before Wednesday 13 May.
  • Those returning to Covid-19 secure workplaces, should avoid public transport wherever possible, walking, driving or cycling instead. Social distancing guidance on public transport must be followed rigorously.
  • Face coverings – not medical grade PPE – should be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible.
  • Exercising as often as you like outside is permitted, and if you wish, you may meet up with  one person from outside your household whilst outdoors, but you must adhere to the social distancing rules.
  • You may drive to an outdoor space, but you must socially distance while you are there and do not have contact with people outside your household.
  • The clinically vulnerable are strongly advised to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.
  • The extremely vulnerable are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid face to face contact.
  • Higher fines for those who do not follow the rules.
  • The government expects to introduce a series of measures and restrictions at the UK border, so international arrivals will be expected to supply contact and accommodation information and strongly advised to download the NHS contact and tracing app and to self isolate for 14 days on arrival. There is no specific date for these measures at this point.

Step Two of Phase Two covers:

  • A phased return for early years settings and schools from 1 June.
  • Opening non- essential retail when and where it is safe to do so.
  • Permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast while avoiding the risks of large-scale social contact.
  • Re-opening more local public transport in urban areas, subject to strict measures to limit as far as possible the risk of infection in normally crowded spaces.
  • Government is giving consideration to ways that people can expand their household group to include one other household in the same exclusive group. SAGE is looking at this, but no changes as yet.

Step three of Phase Two covers:

  • By July at the earliest, to open at least some businesses and premises that have been required to close, including personal care, hospitality, public places and leisure facilities – provided that they are Covid-19 Secure.

Clear guidance is required on what constitutes Covid-19 secure and we anticipate announcements from the Chancellor regarding phasing of government support. We will update our information, as we receive it.