Michael Gove says Brits should work from home 'if possible' as UK Government U-turns on back to work drive

Boris Johnson has been forced to abandon his drive to get Britons back to the workplace, according to Cabinet Office minister.

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 9:53 am

Michael Gove has said the new 10pm coronavirus curfew for pubs and restaurants is not the only measure Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be announcing later.

The Cabinet Office minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s part of a package of measures.

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“But, the evidence is that social mixing can encourage the spread of the virus.”

Michael Gove.
Michael Gove.

Pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be ordered to close by 10pm each night from Thursday, a move which has angered a hospitality industry already battered by the pandemic.

The Prime Minister will make an address to the nation on Tuesday evening.

He will outline other measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, which will also restrict the hospitality sector to table service only.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce further coronavirus measures for Scotland after the Cobra meeting on Tuesday morning.

Mr Gove went on to say there was going to be a "shift in emphasis" on the UK Government's advice about working from home.

“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.”

Asked if that was a change, Mr Gove said “yes”.

Asked if a group of six people could leave a pub at 10pm and carry on drinking at a house, Mr Gove said: “It is the case that with the Rule Of Six you can have six people in a social gathering, yes, but the steps that we are taking here reflect some of the evidence that has been gathered from those parts of the country where these restrictions have already been put in place in order to ensure that we restrict social mixing.”

Plans for a partial return of sports fans to stadiums from October 1 have been “paused”, according to Mr Gove.

He said: “It is the case that we’ve been piloting some open air venues, and we do want to be able in due course to allow people to return to watch football and other sporting events,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“But it is the case that we just need to be cautious at the moment and I think a mass reopening at this stage wouldn’t be appropriate.”

He added: “It was the case that we were looking at a staged programme of more people returning – it wasn’t going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans.

“We’re looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme. But what we do want to do is to make sure that as and when circumstances allow, (we) get more people back.”

Mr Gove was unable to say how long the new coronavirus measures are expected to last.

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