Coronavirus: lockdown removal plans revealed

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The Governments plans are to be unveiled on Sunday
The Governments plans are to be unveiled on Sunday

Related tags: coronavirus

Government plans to end the coronavirus lockdown could mean the enforcement of staggered shift times, limiting the numbers of people in company vehicles and the regular cleaning of factories and servicing of ventilation systems.

There are reported to be seven Government documents, drawn up by Duchy of Lancaster minister Michael Gove and business secretary Alok Sharma that will guide the reopening of businesses. 

According to reports, this could mean a range of rules for factories, including floor markings to ensure workers are two metres apart, as well as regular cleaning of work areas, equipment, tools and vehicles. 

Sky News has reported that factories would face a range of requirements to limit the number of people in company vehicles, remove waste at the end of a shift, keep a record of visitors, and provide hand sanitisers for employees.

There have also been reports that the Tuesday following the second May Bank Holiday could be a possible date for factories and some shops to re-open.

Lockdown

However, The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has revealed that it is likely that it will continue with its lockdown beyond a scheduled review on Thursday due to the high number of cases in the country. 

However, despite Boris Johnson’s suggestion that masks might be in his lockdown plan, to be revealed on Sunday (10 May), there was no indication on how this might affect the food manufacturing sector. 

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has accused the guidance of being weak, and wants tougher enforcement on employers.  

It said the Government must agree with unions for safe operation of public transport, national guidelines on the health and safety of those who have been advised to shield, and plans to safely re-open childminders, nurseries and schools on a phased basis. 

PPE concerns 

The TUC said it had been concerned to see the suggestion in some recent correspondence that the aim of sector-specific guidance would be to ensure staff could be “made to feel sufficiently reassured on safe working practices without the provision of PPE”, rather than focusing on which practices needed to be put in place to secure safe working. 

Josh Hardie, CBI deputy director general, said that ​lockdown was a “necessarily brutal, sharp process”​ and that partnership between Government, businesses and employees was the only way to get it right.

Now that is available, many businesses are expanding operations and safely protecting livelihoods. Restart will be more gradual, giving us time to plan and prepare properly. It’s vital to use this time and the CBI welcomes the opportunity to consult on the approach,”​ he said.  

“There are clear lockdown lessons that firms will be looking to for the next phase. Restart must put health first, or it will risk sending the economy backwards. It must continue the Government’s approach of flexibility within a framework. This means firms receive clear guidance and can move at speeds that suit their circumstances. Critically, it also means those who have already invested heavily in safety don’t have to start again.”

Yesterday, Greencore ​confirmed that one of its managers had tested positive for Covid-19. 

The food industry coronavirus support initiatives​ are continuing with a host of firms rallying to aid the vulnerable, NHS staff and their peers in the sector.

Related topics: COVID-19

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1 comment

Physical barriers between workers

Posted by Paul Anderson,

It would be great for some guidance on the use of physical safe screens for use between workers such as those used on public transport and supermarkets. This type of poly-carbonate screen is already in use in medical facilities and could fit nicely into the workplace environment.
Similarly the use of UVC air purifiers already used by ambulances can be utilised in the workplace too.

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