Manufacturers – a sector highlighted by the government as one that should return to work if safe to do so – have welcomed the 51-page roadmap published yesterday setting out a three-stage plan for easing lockdown restrictions.
However, a spokesperson for manufacturer trade body Make UK said that “PPE is going to be a key issue” in getting factories fully operational again.
It is “absolutely essential that manufacturers of all sizes go the extra mile to provide their employees with every piece of equipment which could protect them and ensure they can work safely,” Make UK said.
Many manufacturers, however, are “already operating at the top end of safe working and have adapted working environments in line with today's important government guidance,” the spokesperson said.
The document, called Our Plan to Rebuild, is advisory rather than mandatory and sets out a three-stage plan for easing lockdown restrictions.
Launched amid criticism that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s TV statement on Sunday, 10 May, was confusing, the roadmap is described in the PM’s foreword as “a plan that should give the people of the United Kingdom hope …. that we can safeguard livelihoods”. Later he says the country is “in it for the long haul”.
The guidance was published on a day when deaths in the UK because of the virus passed the 32,000 mark.
Here are some key elements from Our Plan to Rebuild:
People should wear face masks in crowded places, the guidance says. However, as supply of PPE remains an issue, it cautions that facemasks must be “reserved for those who need them”. A face covering is not the same as a face mask such as the surgical ones used by healthcare and other workers, the document stresses.
Return to the workplace
WHO: Everyone who cannot do their job from home should go to work, provided their workplace is open, the guidance says.
The guidance singles out people working in manufacturing, distribution, food production, construction, logistics and scientific research in laboratories as those who should return to their workplaces.
Hospitality and “non-essential” retail businesses will remain closed.
Food service providers, pubs and hotels are deemed “higher risk” and must wait until July 4, along with churches, hair dresses and cinemas, to reopen.
HOW: Workplaces need to follow “COVID-19 secure” guidelines to be published this week. Staff should work in smaller teams and work surfaces should be cleaned frequently.
WHAT: Those employees who cannot work from home were nonetheless asked to avoid using public transport and travel instead in cars, bikes or by walking.
As well as asking firms to stagger shifts and expand bicycle storage facilities, the government has announced a £2bn investment for extra cycle lanes and widened pavements. More guidance will be issued this week to operators on social distancing measures.