What happens next?
This first part of the phased release of lockdown will be effective from Wednesday. People will also be able to spend unlimited amounts of time outside for leisure purposes, so long as they practice social distancing, and meet one member of another household in an outdoors location.
In phase two, which will take place no earlier than June 1, non-essential shops could be allowed to reopen, meaning sales staff could be required to return to work. Teachers could also be called back to work if schools are opened to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils.
In phase three, which will start in July at the earliest, the plan is to open parts of the hospitality industry and other public places. Hairdressers and beauty salons, restaurants and pubs, places of worship and cinemas could be allowed to open, which would mean workers in these industries would go back to work.
Mr Johnson bemoaned seeing “darkened pubs” but said they might not open until later, with industry estimates ranging from July through to winter or even early 2021.
The Prime Minister stressed the conditionality of the plan, saying the Government would be “driven by the science, the data, and public health”.
Horticulture lovers are in for a treat, though, as the Government has allowed garden centres to reopen this week.
If I can work from home, should I?
Yes. According to Government guidance, those who have the ability to work from home should do “for the foreseeable future”.
I’ve been furloughed, when can I return to work?
Nothing has changed here. When you are able to return to work is dependent on your employer, who has applied for you to be furloughed.
However, the Government is set to announce the extension of the scheme until September, albeit paying 60pc of a monthly wage packet, not 80pc.
Edwin Morgan of the Institute of Directors said the minimum furlough period was three weeks. After an employee returns from furlough, they can be put back on furlough if necessary – again, for a minimum of three weeks.
“Ideally, going forward we’d want the system to become more flexible, particularly when restrictions start to lift, so that businesses are able to respond more agilely to demand,” Morgan says.
Under the furlough system, which currently sees the Government paying 80pc of wages up to £2,500 a month, workers are not allowed to undertake work for their company.
Are construction workers allowed to work?
The advice for construction and manufacturing workers is now unequivocally to go to work.
Other workers such as plumbers and engineers are still allowed to complete work, as long as social distancing guidelines are followed. However, individual companies may be setting their own guidance on resuming work.