What the 17th May lifting of restrictions means for business

The Government has announced that indoor entertainment and hotels and other accommodation around England will be able to re-open again on 17th May.

Woman and man in an office sit far apart and wear face masks for virus avoidance


The Government has confirmed that the next stage of the roadmap out of Covid will go ahead for England from 17th May.

Due to falling rates of infection and rising vaccination rates, hotels, hostels and other types of accommodation will be able to open from 17th as people will be permitted to travel for leisure within Great Britain. Indoor hospitality will also be able to re-open as planned, as will indoor entertainment and visitor attractions, like galleries, theatres, cinemas and soft play centres.

Kate Palmer from HR experts Peninsula UK said: “Businesses have now been given the seven-day notice of re-starting their operations or operating more widely again. More staff will receive the call to return to work, and employers shouldn’t delay doing this, ensuring to stick to any notice period for recall that was agreed at the outset. Where no notice of return was agreed, as much notice as possible should be given. All Covid secure measures should be in place to protect employees from exposure to the virus; despite the lowering of overall Covid alert level across Great Britain, social distancing rules remain in place when not with friends or family.”

She added that businesses who are taking people off furlough should remember that they still have the flexibility to re-furlough staff where necessary until the end of September 2021 and furlough others for the first time, albeit with a reduction to wage funding from July.

She said: “Those remaining employers who are still unable to open, including nightclubs, can take the announcement as a strong indication that everything is on track for the final stage of reopening on 21 June 2021, when all enforced business closure will be lifted.”

A survey from the Chartered Management Institute, published this week, found eight in 10 managers said their employees were apprehensive about returning to an office. Social distancing (50%) and the use of public transport to commute to work (48%) are the biggest worries.

Employees cited their concerns with working from home too. They said social isolation (71%), distractions (70%), mental health worries (66%) and work-life balance issues (60%) had been problems over the last year.

However, the study found managers expect an average of three in five employees back in the office once restrictions end. Yet only half of employers had consulted with their workforce about returning to work arrangements.

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