Posted: Sun 10th May 2020
Employees who can't work from home should go to work and some non-essential shops could open as early as 1 June, the prime minister has announced in his first speech on how the government intends to ease the coronavirus lockdown.
Speaking in a TV address, Boris Johnson said according to the new alert scale for England, where level one means the virus is no longer present and level five is the most critical, the country is moving into level three. Although that doesn't mean it's time to end the lockdown, the government will introduce "the first careful steps to modify" measures, he said.
Anyone who can't work from home, such as construction and manufacturing employees, should now "be actively encouraged to go to work", the prime minister announced, but they should avoid using public transport and drive, walk or cycle instead.
If the conditions of combating COVID-19 are met, the next stage of easing the lockdown in England will begin on 1 June with the "phased reopening of shops". Getting children back to school will also start beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
Step three will begin by July at the earliest with the re-opening of some hospitality businesses if they are safe and enforce social distancing.
In other measures, Johnson said that from this Wednesday, people in England can take unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise including driving to other destinations and playing sports with members of their own household.
He also confirmed press reports that people arriving in the UK by air will soon be required to go into quarantine.
The government will publish guidance for employers to make workplaces COVID-secure and Johnson will set out more details on easing the lockdown and how businesses can prepare in a statement to Parliament at around 3pm on Monday. Look out for updates in the Enterprise Nation coronavirus business support hub.
'Stay Home' becomes 'Stay Alert'
Earlier on Sunday it was revealed that the government's 'Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives' message has changed to 'Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives'.
But that message has been rejected by the Scottish and Welsh first ministers who said 'Stay Home' remains the instruction in Scotland and Wales.
Nicola Sturgeon has announced however that people in Scotland can now exercise more than once a day with Mark Drakeford confirming the same change for Wales as well as the reopening of garden centres. The Northern Ireland Executive has not yet announced any changes.
The latest coronavirus support information
We are keeping you updated on the latest information on how to access the government's coronavirus business support here. You can also find advice and ask a question on Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.