COVID-19: the UK officially moves further into ‘delay’ phase in the fight against coronavirus spread

Please Note: All information correct at time of writing on 16 March 2020. We do our very best to make sure our information is as up to date as possible, but we’d encourage you to check out our latest articles and to check the government website for updates as they happen.

On Monday 16 March 2020 Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a press conference announcing the UK’s official move into the ‘delay’ phase of its action plan to tackle the growing spread of coronavirus in the UK.

Speaking on the progression of the virus in the UK, Johnson described COVID-19 as “the worst public health crisis for a generation.”  However, just as Rishi Sunak in his Budget speech on 11 March, he stressed the nation would get through the impact of the virus together.

The press conference revealed the main changes as we move from ‘containment’ to ‘delay’, a number of which will have an impact on businesses across the country. We’ve rounded up the seven key announcements to keep you in the know and to help you keep your business and your people as safe as possible.

  • The UK is now moving into the ‘delay’ phase of the UK’s action plan.
  • If you, or anyone in your household, has a high temp and/ or a new and continuous cough, everyone in the household has to self-isolate for 14 days and this will include, if possible, not going out to buy food. 
  • Even if neither you, nor anyone in your household, has symptoms, the government wants everyone to stop all unnecessary travel and contact with others. Wherever possible, people should work from home.
  • Avoid pubs, clubs, restaurants etc.
  • Advice about avoiding unnecessary contact is particularly important for those over 70, pregnant women and those with underlying conditions and therefore by the weekend, it will be necessary to go further to protect the most vulnerable, by imposing further restrictions for approximately 12 weeks (presumably those over 70). 
  • Londoners are asked to pay particular attention to these restrictions as they appear to be a few weeks ahead of the rest of the country.
  • From tomorrow the government will not be supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers as they will be needed elsewhere.


Tracking the progress of coronavirus to keep your business safe

We understand that the spread of coronavirus across the UK is worrying – both for the safety of your people and business.

Our HR, Employment Law and Health & Safety experts are closely monitoring the spread of coronavirus, along with government initiatives and legislations intended to protect people and businesses – and updating our advice regularly.

If you’ve got any questions about the impact of coronavirus on your business, you can visit our Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions, which is regularly refreshed. And if you’re considering a move to temporary homeworking, you can find our guide right here.

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