First details of the government’s programme to allow businesses to reopen have begun to emerge - with little comfort for estate agents
A 51-page document released this afternoon outlines an “indicative roadmap” which says that potentially from June 1, some schools and businesses - including what it calls “non-essential shops” - will reopen.
At this stage it isn’t clear whether “non-essential shops” would include agents’ offices - but this is the category in the document closest to agents’ activities. The only retail services explictly excluded from this section are hairdressers and hospitality businesses such as pubs and restaurants.
There are no explicit comments made about how viewings or similar activities would be handled, although there are hints in some more general points made in the document.
For example, throughout the document 'the science' is quoted as suggesting the virus spreads much more easily inside than in the open air, so emphasis is given to relaxation of outdoor activities.
"As more people return to work, there will be more movement outside people's immediate household" the guidance says. "This increased mobility means the government is now advising that people should aim to wear a face covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops."
As well as advising the public to wear face coverings, employers are being urged to redesign workplaces to minimise the number of individuals people come into contact with, including increasing ventilation.
This approach is described as “making contact safer by redesigning public and work spaces, and those with symptoms self-isolating”.
From July 4 remaining businesses, such as hairdressers, and social spaces such as cinemas and pubs, will be allowed to reopen.
Today’s government document says all dates could be delayed if insufficient progress is made in tackling the virus - and restrictions could be reintroduced.
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills says it will tomorrow release further details on how businesses can executive social distancing during coming weeks and months.