Blueprint prepared for UK’s ‘safe’ return to work

Boris Johnson’s government is set to issue detailed “workplace by workplace” guidance on how Britain can safely go back to work, as the prime minister prepares to announce that coronavirus is being contained.

Alok Sharma, business secretary, is aiming to produce by the weekend around 10 papers setting out in “granular detail” how the economy can start to reopen once Mr Johnson orders the easing of the lockdown.

He will set out how safe working can take place in environments from factories and construction sites to offices and call centres, answering demands from business for more clarity on an exit strategy.

Government officials say the papers will include advice to restrict access to communal spaces, such as canteens; greatly enhanced use of hand washing and sanitising; and the avoidance of face-to-face work.

They say office workers will continue to be advised to work from home where possible — avoiding congestion on public transport — with revised shift patterns in all sectors to help maintain distance in the workplace.

“It is only right the we work together with industry and unions to ensure workplaces are safe for both those in work now and for those going back to work as government measures develop,” a government spokesman said.

Tory MPs expect outdoor sectors of the economy to see restrictions eased first, with hospitality businesses and nightclubs likely to be at the end of the queue.

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