‘Work from home if you can’ - Government changes advice on return to office as coronavirus cases rise

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 10:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 10:16 am
The UK government has changed its stance on returning to the office, with workers to be told to work from home if possible, moving away from their ‘back to work’ campaign (Photo: Shutterstock)
The UK government has changed its stance on returning to the office, with workers to be told to work from home if possible, moving away from their ‘back to work’ campaign (Photo: Shutterstock)

The UK government has changed its stance on returning to the office, with workers to be told to work from home if possible, moving away from their ‘back to work’ campaign.

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Since August, workers have been encouraged to head back to the office in a bid to get the economy started again, but Michael Gove told Sky News there would now be a “shift in emphasis” in regards to this.

The Cabinet Officer minister said that "if it is possible for people to work from home they should do so".

Why has the advice changed?

The change in advice in regards to working from home comes after the chief medical officers for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales raised the alert level from three to four, meaning transmission of coronavirus is "high or rising exponentially".

Mr Gove explained, "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.”

Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues will also have to close at 10pm from Thursday 24 September, and the sector will be required by law to table service only.

Boris Johnson to address the nation

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to outline these new plans in an address to the on Tuesday 22 September.

The PM will begin with an emergency meeting of the COBRA committee of senior ministers and officials, alongside the first ministers of Scotland and Wales, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford, and the first minister and deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill.

Mr Johnson will then make a statement in the Commons at 12.30pm, before a Downing Street broadcast to the nation at 8pm.

According to Number 10, the TV broadcast will cover “further ways we will confront the virus in line with the latest scientific advice, and the role everyone can continue to play in tackling the spread, including by following the social distancing guidance, wearing face coverings and washing hands regularly.”