Government states 'work from home if you can'

Employees in England should “work from home if they can”, as the number of COVID-19 cases is now doubling every seven days.

This advice comes from Michael Gove, Cabinet Office Minister. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson will be addressing the nation tonight (22/09/20) where he will be outlining the new restrictions to be put in place to fight the second wave of COVID-19.

Due to the rising number of cases, the COVID-19 threat level will be raised from 3 to 4 for the first time since June.

This is despite towards the end of August, it was announced that a government campaign would start to encourage employees to go back to their workplaces, which would be most promoted through regional media.  

By the start of September, the Government was denying that it planned to launch a campaign to get employees back in to the office. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman rejected reports that such a campaign had been put on hold and in fact stated such a campaign never existed. This has led to a senior Conservative backbencher demanding clearer government communication and consistency.

One new measure will be pubs, bars and restaurants that will have to close at 22.00 from Thursday (24/09/20) onwards.

Mr Gove said:

We are stressing that if it is safe to work in your workplace, if you are in a Covid-secure workplace, then you should be there if your job requires it.

But, if you can work from home you should.

They are reluctant steps that we’re taking, but they’re absolutely necessary because as we were reminded yesterday and as you’ve been reporting, the rate of infection is increasing, the number of people going to hospital is increasing, therefore we need to act.

Further job cuts came from Whitbread this morning. The firm that owns Premier Inn and Beefeater said that 6,000 jobs are at risk. Currently, there are 27,000 Whitbread staff on furlough which comes to an end in October.

Alison Brittain, chief executive of Whitbread said:

With demand for travel remaining subdued, we are now having to make some very difficult decisions, and it is with great regret that today we are announcing our intention to enter into a consultation process that could result in up to 6,000 redundancies in the UK, of which it is hoped that a significant proportion can be achieved voluntarily.