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Home > News > Planning for the lockdown lift – general guidance for all workplaces

Planning for the lockdown lift – general guidance for all workplaces

06 May 2020 | Nick Jones

Last week Boris Johnson announced that we were “past the peak” of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Government is expected to announce its “Roadmap” on Sunday setting out its plans for how the UK will start lifting restrictions and working its way out of lockdown.

We will review the full proposals and provide detailed guidance on next steps on Monday 11th May.

It is essential that businesses start planning ahead for the lifting of restrictions. The plans released on Sunday are unlikely to have immediate effect so there will still be time for consideration and analysis for your own business needs.

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact our employment law specialists Nick Jones and Cecily Donoghue on 0117 9069 400 or email or 

In the meantime, here are some general tips and predictions on some of the factors that businesses will need to consider:

Planning a Return to Work – All Workplaces

  • Staggering arrival/departure times to reduce crowding in and out
  • Providing additional parking or bike racks
  • Reducing congestion, for example by having more entry points to the workplace – one entry for entering the building and one for exiting if possible.
  • Handwashing or hand sanitation at entry and exit points
  • Alternatives to touch-based security devices such as keypads.
  • Storage for staff clothes and bags.
  • Staff to change into work uniforms on site using appropriate facilities/changing areas.
  • Washing uniforms on site rather than at home.
  • Discouraging nonessential trips within buildings and sites.
  • Reducing job and location rotation, for example, assigning employees to specific floors.
  • Introducing more one-way flow routes through buildings.
  • Reducing maximum occupancy for lifts, providing hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts, and encouraging use of stairs.
  • Regulating use of corridors, lifts, and staircases.
  • Reviewing layouts to allow staff to work further apart from each other.
  • Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help staff maintain 2 metres.
  • Avoiding employees working face to face — working side by side or facing away from each other where possible.
  • Using screens to create a physical barrier between people where appropriate.
  • Staggering break times to reduce pressure on the break rooms, using outside areas for breaks.
  • Using protective screening for staff in receptions or similar areas.
  • Reconfiguring seating and tables to maintain spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions.
  • Providing packaged meals or similar to avoid opening staff canteens.

Planning a Return to Work – Bars, Cafes, Hotels & Restaurants

  • Bar areas must be closed.
  • Seated restaurants and cafés must be closed.
  • All food and drink outlets to serve takeaways only.
  • Allowing access to as few people as possible into kitchens.
  • Minimising interaction between kitchen workers and other workers.
  • Putting teams into shifts to restrict the number of employees interacting.
  • Spacing workstations 2 metres apart as much as possible.
  • Minimising access to walk-in pantries, fridges, and freezers, with likely only one person being able to access these areas at one point in time.
  • Minimising contact at “handover” points with other staff, such as when presenting food to serving staff and delivery drivers.
  • Hand sanitiser for visitors.
  • Avoid crowded reception areas, staggering check-in and check-out times.
  • Carrying out contractor services at night.
  • Considering room occupancy levels to maintain social distancing, especially in dormitories.
  • Minimising contact between kitchen and food preparation workers and delivery drivers.
  • Using front of house staff to serve customers in walk-in takeaways, with tills 2 metres away from the kitchen and ideally separated by a wall or partition.
  • Creating a physical barrier between front of house workers and customers.
  • Using contactless card payments.
  • Limiting access to premises for people waiting for takeaways – asking customers to wait in their cars.
  • Asking customers to order online, on apps or over the telephone.

Planning a Return to Work – Factories & Warehouses

  • Which staff are essential to be on site — office staff should stay home.
  • Planning for the minimum number of people needed on site.
  • Providing equipment for employees to work from home safely and effectively — for example, laptops.
  • Servicing and adjusting ventilation systems.
  • Frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of objects and surfaces.
  • Clearing workspaces and removing waste at the end of a shift.
  • Cleaning procedures for equipment, tools, and vehicles after each shift and after each use of shared equipment — for example, pallet trucks and forklift trucks.
  • Hand sanitiser for employees to use boarding vehicles or handling deliveries.
  • Regular cleaning of reusable delivery boxes.

Planning a Return to Work – Shops & Branches

  • Defining the number of customers that can follow 2-metre social distancing within the store.
  • Taking into account total floor space as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.
  • Limiting the number of customers at any one time.
  • Suspending or reducing some customer services.
  • Encouraging customers to shop alone.
  • Informing customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times.
  • Using outside premises for queuing.
  • Communicating with nearby premises to manage shared queueing areas.
  • Shopping centres should take responsibility for regulating the number of customers in the centre.
  • Continuing to keep customer restaurants and/or cafés closed until further notice, unless offering hot or cold food to be consumed off the premises.
  • Providing clear guidance to people on arrival.
  • Creating social distancing “champions” to demonstrate social distancing guidelines to customers.
  • Staggered collection times for customers collecting items.
  • Setting up no-contact return procedures.
  • Cashless refunds.
  • Keeping returns separate from displayed merchandise.

Planning a Return to Work – Offices

  • Office staff should work from home if at all possible.
  • Employees in roles critical for business can go in.
  • Employees who cannot work from home due to home circumstances can go in.
  • Planning for the minimum number of people needed on site.
  • Monitoring the wellbeing of employees who are working from home.
  • Keeping in touch with off-site employees including welfare, mental and physical health and personal security.
  • Review layouts, line setups, or processes to let employees work further apart.
  • Arranging for employees to work side-by-side or facing away from each other.
  • Screens to create a physical barrier between people.
  • Floor tape or paint to mark areas to help employees keep to a 2-metre distance.
  • Avoiding use of hot desks and spaces.
  • Limiting use of high-touch items and shared office equipment.
  • Using remote working tools, to avoid in-person meetings.
  • Avoiding transmission during meetings, avoiding sharing pens.
  • Only necessary participants should attend meetings.
  • Hand sanitiser in meeting rooms.
  • Holding meetings in well-ventilated rooms.
  • Limiting or restricting occupancy in group interaction spaces.
  • For areas where regular meetings take place, using floor signage to help people maintain social distancing.

Planning a Return to Work – Working Outdoors

  • Only workers deemed necessary to carry out physical work or supervision should physically attend the workplace.
  • Changing layouts to let workers work further apart.
  • Using screens to separate people from each other.
  • Using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity.
  • Avoiding employees working face to face — for example, by working side by side or facing away from each other.

Planning a Return to Work – Working In a Vehicle

  • Reducing the number of employees at base depots or distribution centres at a given time.
  • Scheduling times for the collection of goods.
  • Loading onto vehicles without interacting with driver.
  • Reducing job/location rotation.
  • Finding alternative solutions to two-person delivery.
  • Minimising the contact during payments and exchange of documentation.
  • Single person/contactless refuelling where possible.
  • Physical screening if safe.
  • Using a fixed pairing system if people have to work in close proximity.
  • Making sure vehicles are well ventilated.
  • Ensure regular cleaning of vehicles.
  • Using no-contact deliveries wherever possible.
  • Scheduling to limit exposure to large crowds and rush hours.
  • Revising pick-up and drop-off collection points.
  • No-contact deliveries where the nature of the product allows.
  • Maximising use of electronic paperwork.

Planning a Return to Work – Working In Other People’s Homes

  • Discussing with households ahead of a visit to ask that a 2-metre distance is kept.
  • Asking that households leave all internal doors open.
  • Identifying busy areas across the household where people travel to, from or through, for example, stairs and corridors.
  • Limiting the time spent in close proximity to no more than 15 minutes.
  • Bringing your own food and drink to households.
  • Limiting the number of workers within a confined space.
  • Using a consistent pairing system if people have to work in close proximity.
  • Allocating the same workers to a household where jobs are repetitive.
  • Where multiple workers are in a home, creating fixed teams of workers who carry out their duties in those teams.
  • Identifying areas where people need to hand things to each other and find ways to remove direct contact.
  • Allocating the same worker to the same household each time there is a visit, e.g. cleaners.
  • Using electronic payment methods and electronically signed and exchanged documents.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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