Many of us will be breathing a sigh of relief today that we have remained on track to move to Stage 2 of the roadmap out of lockdown.
12th April has been ringed in the diary since Boris announced the key dates for lockdown beginning to ease in England. From today, we can enjoy many more of our leisure pursuits and favourite pastimes once more and after the disappointments of last winter, it feels like we are turning a corner.
The new lockdown rules in Stage 2 mean that:
- All non-essential shops can re-open.
- Hairdressers, beauty salons and other close-contact services can open.
- Restaurants and pubs will be allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors.
- Gyms and spas can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries, and community centres.
- Members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation.
- Non-essential journeys between England and Wales are allowed.
- Life events including weddings can take place with 15 people in attendance.
- Funerals can take place with up to 30 people (with up to 15 attending a wake).
- Children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity and play areas.
- Care home visitors will increase to two per resident.
- Driving lessons can resume (with tests restarting on 22 April).
With more activities open, limits on social contact remain in place. Indoor settings should only be visited alone or within household groups, and outside up to six people or two households.
Those businesses fully reopening will already have taken the necessary steps to bring their people back to work whilst others will still be making plans for staff to return to the workplace once we reach Stage 4 on the roadmap on June 21st.
Whilst the ‘stay at home’ rule has ended, we are still being asked to minimise travel and so that should be borne in mind as businesses try to get back to some normality. Stage 2 means that families are being allowed to book a ‘staycation’ or arrange days out as spas, zoos and theme parks re-open.
To avoid disappointment and short staffing issues, employers should encourage staff to plan in some annual leave now, rather than have everyone waiting to book it in a short timeframe later in the summer.
Fittingly, April is ‘Move More‘ month in the UK. As we reclaim our freedom there are more options for getting out and about. Employers can help by reminding staff that taking a break from work is essential for mental health reasons and by encouraging people to join in and plan activities that fit in with the working day.
With tennis clubs, golf clubs and gyms being open, there are plenty of options to take advantage of the fitness gained during those long winter walks to take up a new sport, or get back to one that you love. Employers could consider offering flexible start and end times, or lengthened days with longer lunch breaks. This would not only stagger numbers coming in through the door at the same time, all wanting to make a cuppa, but give staff some freedom to attend classes or go to the gym.
Getting active is a great way to not only improve physical health, but mental wellbeing too. Whilst we are not all going to be ready for the London Marathon this year, we can make small changes to improve how we feel as we gradually move back to normality. And yes, if all else fails, walking to the pub garden is exercise!
The PSHR team is available to help you make sense of how the roadmap out of lockdown will affect your business and staff. We have created a Returning to Work from Lockdown Toolkit containing checklists, policies, communication plans and template letters. This is available for just £395 plus VAT and contains everything you need for supporting your employees as they head back to the workplace.
Contact us today to secure your Returning to Work from Lockdown Toolkit or to speak to one of our HR Advisors. Call 01473 653000.