Secret plans leaked showing how lockdown will be ended
Break times could be staggered and workers asked to communicate via radio, according to a leaked draft of Government plans to lift Britain out of lockdown.
Proposals forged by Business Secretary Alok Sharma and cabinet office minister Michael Gove would see an end to hot-desking and tape on the floor to ensure workers keep at least two metres apart. Efforts would be made to stop people sharing pens in meetings and workers would be paired together if working in close proximity to minimise the potential spread of Covid-19.
Employers may be asked to find alternatives to keypads and touch pads to prevent cross-contamination and colleagues could be kept apart with protective screening. Seven guidance documents obtained by Buzzfeed News will form the Government’s plans to get the workforce back on track.
They say that those who can still work from home must continue to do so wherever possible. Employers will be told to ‘do everything they reasonably can to reduce risk’ if they can’t ensure a distance of two metres of all times.
‘Extremely vulnerable’ people such as those with serious medical conditions and certain cancers will still not be able to carry out any work that can’t be done at home. Employers must take extra steps to protect other vulnerable members of staff from potential contamination risks.
Staggered arrival and departure times will become the new norm to reduce overcrowding and workplaces will be advised to create more entry points with hand washing stations by them. The plans will see staff encouraged to change into their work uniforms on site and to wash them there rather than at home.
Journeys within the workplace should be kept to a minimum, with staff assigned to specific floors and more one-way flow routes through buildings and separate doors could be allocated for entering and exit if possible.
Lifts could have their maximum occupancy reduced and have hand sanitiser placed by them to help keep buttons coronavirus free. Dining areas may only provide packaged meals instead of through communal canteens.
Bar areas will remain closed in hotels and restaurants will still be restricted to takeaways only for now with no seated areas for customers.
Kitchen and hotel staff will be put on shifts to minimise the number of staff on site and only one person will be able to access pantries, fridges and freezers at any one time.
Front-of-house staff should serve customers their takeaways from tills that are at least two metres away from the kitchen, according to the documents.
Customers could be asked to wait for food in their cars, to order online or over the phone where possible and to only use contactless payments.
Shops will be advised to provide only cashless refunds and to set up ‘no contact’ procedures for customers returning products, which should be kept away from items on display.
Social distancing ‘champions’ could be employed to give clear demonstrations of the rules to shoppers.
Stores may have to work together and share queuing areas to reduce the number of people inside and customers could be asked to shop alone.
Workers in other people’s homes should ask the household to keep two metres apart ahead of their visit and to leave all internal doors open to ensure a good airflow.
Fixed teams of workers will be allocated to individual homes to keep minimise unnecessary social contact and alternatives should be found to avoid having to pass items between each other.
Factories and warehouses should only let in the minimum number of people needed to keep the operation going and office workers should stay at home.
They will be asked to improve their ventilation systems and to regularly clean work areas and equipment.
Employees should use hand sanitiser before using vehicles or handling deliveries and reusable boxes should be disinfected frequently.
Under the draft plans goods should be loaded onto vehicles without interacting with the driver and alternatives to two-person deliveries must be arranged wherever possible.
Contact should be kept to a minimum during payments, refuelling and the handing over of documentation.
Employers will be asked to ensure vehicles are regularly cleaned and physical screening should be used if safe, according to the proposals.
While most office staff will be told to carry on working at home if possible, staff classed as critical for businesses can come in as the lockdown is gradually lifted.
The documents say only a minimum number of people should be on site and layouts should be reviewed to keep people further apart.
Screens should be used as physical barriers between people and tape or paint could be used as two metre markers.
Hot desking would be scrapped and employees would be encouraged to work side-by-side or facing away from each other.
Break times should be staggered to stop lunch rooms and office lounges becoming overcrowded.
Employers would be asked to check up on off-site workers to ensure their mental and physical welfare.
Under the proposals face-to-face meetings should be kept to a minimum with only necessary people attending.
Remote working tools should be used wherever possible, and people should avoid sharing pens and using high-touch items.
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