Yesterday (11th May 2020), the government published Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government's COVID-19 recovery strategy. The strategy sets out its roadmap to bring the UK out of COVID-19 lockdown.

The proposals on work take effect from this Wednesday (13th May). They state, “For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible." 

It continues, "All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open, for example, this includes food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, and scientific research in laboratories. The only exceptions to this are those workplaces such as hospitality and non-essential retail which during this first step the Government is requiring to remain closed.

 “As soon as practicable, workplaces should follow the new 'COVID-19 Secure' guidelines, which will be published this week." 

The guidance makes it clear that it remains the case that anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work. Those people should self-isolate, as should those in their households.

Some of the guidance is open to interpretation, and it seems to me that employers and employees/workers therefore need to apply common sense to the guidance.

It is important employers are clear with their staff what measures they are taking to ensure they are following public health and government guidelines, including ensuring they are taking all practical steps to promote social distancing.