What a month March has been! With the COVID-19 pandemic taking hold across the UK and globally, we’ve seen the UK government responding to the crisis by imposing increasingly restrictive limits on our activities, closing schools and workplaces, introducing emergency legislation within days, and announcing unprecedented levels of financial support. With updates and developments happening daily, it can be hard to keep up. So here’s a roundup of where we are, as at 1 April 2020, in respect of key COVID-19 issues affecting the workplace.
On 20 March 2020, the prime minister announced that certain businesses (pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, gyms, casinos, leisure centres, etc.) should close, and within days this was extended to businesses that were not providing essential services.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 26 March 2020 detailing, specifically, which businesses must close (schedule 2), which can remain open (any business not listed in schedule 2), and which can remain open with limitations (schedule 1). This legislation will be reviewed every 21 days, with the first review due by 15 April 2020. Businesses failing to comply with this legislation face prosecution and fines.