w/c 11 May 2020
Good, bad, clear or confused, whatever your feelings may have been after Sunday’s announcement, businesses now have a guideline as to when they can open and start moving forward. This is a conditional plan which will change depending on the need to control the spread of the virus. Much like other plans it is adaptable and can change along the way.
Mid-week saw lots of the changes starting to roll out. More people were encouraged to head back to work, friends were allowed to meet at a distance, and everyone could now take unlimited outdoor exercise which is great for those in flats with no garden space.
Businesses and their employees were given further reassurance with the extension of the furlough scheme until October. The stepped reopening will mean that those businesses, such as hairdressers and pubs, that are not able to open for at least another 8 weeks will be able to keep their workers on the payroll ready for when the time comes to open their doors again.
The flexible nature of the revised scheme will also reassure those firms that are starting to reopen but will initially only have part time hours available. This is firstly because nobody is expecting a stampede of crowds looking to head into retail outlets on the 1st June; people are still feeling cautious and rightly so. Secondly, the necessary safety measures will result in reduced capacities in stores and therefore higher operating costs which will need to be capped until a time that more people can be safely accommodated. Allowing for part time furlough will support businesses and save jobs as we slowly get back to a sense of normality.
We will all be craving some form of normality and the plan, whether you agree or disagree with it, gives us all a rough timeline of when we can get there – except the normal we get to will not be the one we left back in February. In the meantime let’s keep our spirits up, support local businesses where possible and stay safe.
- Suzanne Gloyne