Spot checks will keep businesses ‘COVID-compliant’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said there will be spot checks on businesses to ensure they are COVID compliant as government released its 50-page strategy to ‘rebuild’ the UK today.
Taking questions from MPs in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said: “We are going to insist that businesses are going to look after their workers. We will be having spot inspections to make sure businesses are keeping employees safe.”
The government’s recovery document, OUR PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy (available to view here), was released this afternoon – and guidelines to help workplaces ensure they are ‘COVID secure’ are due to be issued this evening.
With six chapters, the document looks at the current situation, the government’s aims to save lives and livelihoods, a phased recovery, the three-stage roadmap to easing lockdown, supporting programmes and how the public can help.
For the first time, government is advising people to wear face masks when in enclosed spaces, such as public transport or shops.
The document also outlines the aim to begin the rephased opening of primary schools and ‘non-essential retail’ from 1 June. Hairdressers, barbers, pubs and other non-essential hospitality businesses will not be able to reopen until 4 July at the earliest.
The document states that as of 3 May, 800,000 employers had applied to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, with government helping to pay the wages of 6.3 million jobs.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson also urged employers to recognise childcare issues for employees when asking them to return to work.
He said: “The education secretary will be setting out in further detail how we propose to help those with childcare needs.
“I want to stress that if you can’t get the childcare you need to get to work that is plainly an impediment to work and your employer should recognise that.”
The Prime Minister will be leading a news conference at 7pm.
FAQs – what you can and can’t do
The government has also updated its FAQs on what you can and can’t do from Wednesday – including going to work, and workers’ rights.
From Wednesday, people will be able to:
- spend time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, or sunbathing
- meet one other person from a different household outdoors – following social distancing guidelines
- exercise outdoors as often as you wish – following social distancing guidelines
- use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart
- go to a garden centre
For more information on the FAQs, click here.
£2 billion package to shift roadspace from motorists to cyclists and pedestrians
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced a £2 billion package to support alternative ways to travel, such as walking and cycling, in order to relieve the pressure on public transport.
Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund – the first stage of a £2 billion investment, and part of the £5 billion in new funding announced for cycling and buses in February.
Fast-tracked statutory guidance (click here to view), effective immediately, will tell councils to reallocate roadspace for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians. In towns and cities, some roads and streets could become bike and bus-only while others remain available for motorists. More side streets could be closed to through traffic, to create low-traffic neighbourhoods and reduce rat-running while maintaining access for vehicles.