People in England have admitted they are unwilling to enjoy the freedoms set to be restored next week, as new polling shows four in 10 adults support compulsory face masks in public indefinitely while a third of workers say they are ‘uncomfortable’ with returning to the office.
A survey conducted by Ipsos Mori found that a quarter of people would like nightclubs and casinos to remain shut after the pandemic, while nearly a fifth support a permanent 10pm curfew.
Around a third of the 1,025 adults aged 16-75 interviewed on July 2 and 3 also said they would support permanent social distancing in theatres, pubs and sports grounds, while 35 per cent said they would support mandatory 10-day quarantines for people returning from abroad forever.
Thirty-six per cent of those polled said they would support compulsory QR scanning upon entering hospitality venues, while 40 per cent said they support mask mandates in shops and on public transport. More than 45 per cent of adults only the vaccinated to ever travel abroad again.
Rail and bus companies have said coverings will not be compulsory when restrictions are lifted next week, with a spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group announcing that railway travel is ‘low risk’.
But the Confederation of Passenger Transport, which represents the bus and coach industry, has called for ‘clear guidance for operators and customers’, while Labour mayors Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham urged the Government to extend the mask mandate beyond July 19.
A petition urging Sajid Javid to retain the mask mandate on public transport has already received more than 120,000 signatures from people who claim: ‘Masks don’t just protect the wearer, they protect the people nearby, so even if transport workers continue to wear masks and others don’t it puts them at risk.’
Anxious people have revealed on Twitter that they are not likely to go to the pub on the so-called Freedom Day, whether they are nervous about catching the virus or irritated by being required to wear masks upon entry. Some have also expressed frustration of being ‘pinged’ to self-isolate by the NHS app.
One person said: ‘I won’t be going to a pub anyway. I went to a full pub of maskless, sitting people whilst not wearing a mask standing up and got verbally abused by multiple people.’
Another wrote: ‘I won’t be going to the pub/restaurant/cinema/theatre/shopping centre etc. when ‘freedom day’ arrives. Will most definitely not be spending my money to help the economy at a risk to my own health. I will remain cautious and masked, spend time with my cautious family.’
A third added: ‘I’ll decide when it’s safe to ditch my mask and when it’s safe to go into a pub, restaurant etc. And I won’t be going into a pub any time soon.’
As new polling shows that support for restrictions remains considerable, it emerged:
- Downing Street hinted there could be another lockdown to tackle coronavirus at the end of the year;
- The Test, Trace & Isolate system is set to stay until at least next year despite alarm over rising numbers of healthy people being doomed to house arrest;
- More than 830,000 children in England were absent from school last week due to self-isolation rules;
- Britain’s rise in cases means it beats almost all of the countries on its amber list in terms of daily infections;
- Nicola Sturgeon defied Boris Johnson by keeping masks mandatory in Scotland even after lockdown ends;
- Nightclubs, music venues, theatres and busy pubs will be encouraged to ask for Covid status;
- More than two million vulnerable people will be advised to minimise social contact until the third wave stops;
- Sajid Javid confirmed that fully vaccinated frontline NHS staff would be exempted from self-isolation rules;
- Ministers prepared to push through regulations today requiring care home staff to have the Covid jab;
- The Commons authorities faced criticism for suggesting staff will have to wear masks when MPs can opt out;
- Tory politicians warned the economy would ‘grind to a halt’ unless self-isolation rules were scaled back.
Fear of coronavirus could further delay England’s so-called Freedom Day after new polling found that four in 10 adults support compulsory mask-wearing in public spaces indefinitely, while around a third of workers admit they are ‘uncomfortable’ with returning to the office
A survey conducted by Ipsos Mori found that a quarter of people would like nightclubs and casinos to remain shut forever, while nearly a fifth support a permanent 10pm curfew. Around a third of the 1,025 adults aged 16-75 interviewed on July 2 and 3 also said they would support enforced social distancing in theatres, pubs and sports grounds, while 35 per cent said they would support mandatory 10-day quarantines for people returning from abroad permanently
Women wearing face masks walk through Notting Hill Gate station on July 13, 2021
Anxious people have revealed on Twitter that they are not likely to go to the pub on the so-called Freedom Day, whether they are nervous about catching the virus or irritated by being required to wear masks upon entry. Some have also expressed frustration of being ‘pinged’ to self-isolate by the NHS app
Passengers wear face coverings euat Waterloo Station on July 4, 2021
Boris Johnson wears a face mask as he departs following a Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving marking the 73rd Anniversary of the foundation of the NHS on July 5, 2021
No10 hints of ANOTHER winter lockdown as leading doctors attack ‘irresponsible’ move to press ahead with Freedom Day on July 19… but SAGE adviser says nation can battle ‘miserable winter’ without needing to shut down
No10 has hinted there could be another lockdown to tackle coronavirus at the end of the year, even though top scientists believe such drastic action may be unnecessary.
In another sign of the Government’s changing tune on whether restrictions will be gone for good after ‘Freedom Day’ next week, minister Steve Barclay said ‘no one knows’ how effective vaccines will be in the winter, meaning some measures may need to be reintroduced.
But his comments came as one of SAGE’s own advisers admitted he doesn’t see No10 needing to resort to drastic lockdowns again this winter.
Professor Calum Semple, a paediatrician at Liverpool University, warned of a ‘miserable winter’ ahead because of the mix of Covid with flu and other ‘respiratory viruses that we didn’t experience in the last year or so’.
However, he confessed that he doesn’t ‘foresee the lockdowns or the school suspensions that we’ve seen’ and that curbs including mask-wearing could be reintroduced in order to contain any winter wave.
In a statement, Ipsos Mori’s head of political research Gideon Skinner said: ‘Throughout most of the pandemic, we’ve seen support for many of the measures that the Government has taken to control the virus – broadly speaking, many more people define themselves as supporters of the restrictions than opponents, and only a minority believe that the rules have been too strict.
‘This latest polling backs this up, with the public prepared to accept a number of restrictions such as mask-wearing and on foreign travel being in place in the short-term after the planned July 19th easing, and even if necessary until the coronavirus is under control worldwide (although support for the most extreme of the options – a curfew – is consistently much lower).’
But added: ‘This isn’t a blank cheque – support falls noticeably for restrictions being in place permanently. Interestingly, while Covid is still seen as a risk support for restrictions tends to be stronger among older age groups, but that age difference disappears when we ask about support for restrictions remaining in place permanently (and if anything, older groups actually become more opposed).’
It comes as a survey by CV-Library shared exclusively with MailOnline has found that around 55 per cent of UK professionals feel anxious about returning to the office next week.
With over 1,100 responses, the poll found that 73 per cent of workers ‘prefer the flexibility of working from home’, while 33 per cent ‘still fee uncomfortable because of Covid-19’.
Nearly a quarter of those interviewed said they did not want to work in the office because of the commute, while around 37 per cent said they do not ‘want to deal with office politics’. Forty-four per cent of those polled claimed that they get more work done when they are not in the office.
Lee Biggins, CEO and founder of CV-Library, said: ‘The trend towards working from home was already gaining in popularity before the onset of Covid -19 in March 2020. However, as swathes of the UK population were forced to work from home, many have found they enjoy the benefits of working remotely and are eager to avoid returning to the workplace full-time.’
The survey went on to find that less than a quarter (23 per cent) felt comfortable enough to discuss their worries with a manager. A staggering 74 per cent claimed that their employer had not offered any mental health support to help staff make the transition back into the workplace.
Mr Biggins added: ‘It’s clear that many companies can operate with the majority of their staff working remotely, so embracing this revolution is the best way to move forward throughout 2021.
‘Any employers that fail to do so may find it increasingly difficult to retain and attract new team members during a vital time of recovery and as we emerge from lockdown and restrictions.’
Businesses are calling for urgent clarity over guidance on mask-wearing, social distancing, work from home and so-called vaccine passports before legal restrictions are axed on July 19, amid mounting fears of a ‘free-for-all’ when mandatory virus measures become advisory.
Trade experts have warned that guidance laid out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Sajid Javid yesterday ‘passes the buck’ and imposes ‘moral responsibility’ onto businesses, particularly hospitality firms which are trying to recover from the cycle of lockdowns.
Business chiefs are now taking matters into their own hands, with Timpson chairman Sir John Timpson telling the BBC this morning that he will ask staff to wear masks to protect his customers but will not force customers to cover their faces because the mandate will have been scrapped.
The coronavirus restrictions which will be removed from July 19
Britain today recorded 50 Covid deaths, while cases jumped by a quarter in a week to 36,660
A YouGov survey found that half of Britons are not confident that the remaining legal curbs will be lifted on July 19
The poll, which was conducted after the Government extended lockdown by another month, found that three-quarters of older people will continue to socially distancing after restrictions are lifted. More than half of people aged 18-24 said they would wear masks on public transport and shops, and would also continue to physically distance
Government guidance will advise that passengers should wear masks if services are busy
Boris Johnson last night warned Covid curbs could return in September if new freedoms are abused
Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby told Radio 4’s Today programme that staff and guests will be encouraged to wear masks at his resorts because public health is ‘absolutely our number one priority’ – though he will not be ‘policing’ the advice, and no one will have to present so-called vaccine passports.
Nightclub owner REKOM UK said it will also not be asking for Covid passports at its doors when it reopens venues on Monday, for the first time since lockdown was imposed in March last year – despite the Government advising clubs to do so after remaining curbs are lifted in England.
Its chief executive Peter Marks said nightclubs will operate in the same way as pubs – ‘at full capacity and without any requirement for a negative Covid test, something we believe would create a barrier to both customer enjoyment and getting the industry back on its feet’.
However, ministers are threatening to force nightclub owners and other large venues to insist on ‘Covid certification’ of vaccination status as a condition of entry if steps to limit the spread of the virus are not taken by firms, according to Government guidance released last night.
Modelling by SAGE released yesterday suggests it is realistic to expect between 100 to 200 daily fatalities and 1,000 to 2,000 hospital admissions at the worst of the current outbreak this autumn, following the unlocking on July 19, with up to 4,800 daily admissions as an upper bracket predicted by one model (black shaded curve)
Imperial’s modelling was based on low (light blue), high (dark blue) and central (blue) R rate changes after July 19. Left is optimistic vaccine efficacy, central is default and right is pessimistic. The team at Imperial said there could be more than 30,000 Covid deaths and 260,000 hospital admissions with the virus over the next year under its central assumption
DAILY HOSPITALISATIONS: SAGE expects there to be between 1,000 and 2,000 admissions at the peak this autumn, with its most central estimate shown in light blue. However, the group says its modelling is highly uncertain and depends on how fast people ditch personal precautions. For this reason the confidence intervals suggest there could be more than 3,000 daily admissions
COVID DEATHS: SAGE modelled five different scenarios after July based on how quickly people stop social distancing and following basic Covid measures. The worst-case scenario (in purple) would see people go back to pre-pandemic normal within a month and could lead to more than 500 deaths per day in October. A more gradual relaxation would see deaths remain in the 100 to 200 range at the peak (shown in light blue, dark blue and red)
Mike Cherry, CEO of the Federation of Small Businesses, said ‘safe operation will not be possible without clear workplace guidance’, adding that ‘there remain very strict rules in place around self-isolation and international travel which will have a severe impact on many businesses’.
He cautioned: ‘We cannot allow removing legal guidance to create a free-for-all, with any voluntary guidance ignored, which is why it is vital that clarity around the new state of play is given immediately.’
The Campaign for Pubs also warned that the Government’s ‘mixed messages’ on masks and so-called vaccine passports ‘creates yet more uncertainty for pubs, publicans and for pub customers’. Campaign director Greg Mulholland told MailOnline: ‘It isn’t fair to suggest that pubs and clubs should impose such measures on customers, when they don’t think such measures need to be mandatory.
‘If people, customers or staff, wish to wear a mask, they can and should do so, but it’s wrong to pass the buck and put the moral responsibility onto businesses for things that the Government are now saying aren’t essential.
‘Individual pubs and publicans will make their own decisions, but the majority of pubs will not be imposing non-mandatory requirements onto pub goers, who are keen to get back to pubs finally operating as pubs.’
However, legal experts told MailOnline that though the axing of mandates is a ‘legal grey area’ for companies, bosses would be ‘well within their rights’ to enforce mask and distancing policies of their own if they are satisfied that the measures prevent the spread of coronavirus.
It comes as Downing Street hinted that it could impose another winter lockdown if the vaccines prove to be less effective at preventing serious illness and death than first thought. At a press conference last night, the Prime Minister dropped his claim the easing would be ‘irreversible’ and said that coronavirus restrictions could return in September, adding: ‘We must rule nothing out.’
What Covid ‘freedoms’ will mean for YOU: Do I have to wear a mask at the supermarket? Can I order at the bar? Will I need two jabs to go to a nightclub? And what about WFH?
With Freedom Day set to go ahead next Monday, businesses across England are preparing to wave farewell to most mandatory coronavirus restrictions.
But the Prime Minister’s cautious approach means the legal end to rules such as face masks and social distancing does not mean an immediate return to normality.
For Britons are still expected to be asked by firms to wear masks in many walks of life such as while shopping in supermarkets and travelling on public transport.
And venues such as nightclubs are being urged to require ‘Covid certification’ as a condition of entry, although some have already said they will not do this.
The movement towards businesses deciding what is best for them will lead to a very different approach to the blanket rules the country has become used to.
And Sage member Professor Graham Medley said mask-wearing ‘probably won’t do any good’ when the Government ends the legal requirement for the protection.
Here, MailOnline looks at what life will look like in England from next Monday:
LAW: All laws mandating the wearing of masks will be scrapped
ADVICE: The Prime Minister said people should continue to wear masks in confined spaces where they might meet people they would not ordinarily meet. Guidance published last night said: ‘Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.’
LAW: The two-metre rule is officially being lifted on 19 July, as well as the rule of six which restricts how many can gather together
ADVICE: In fact, people are now being strongly advised to ‘minimise the number, proximity and duration of social contacts’. Chris Whitty even suggested that people should avoid ‘unnecessary meetings’ – and said everyone should continue to abide by ‘hands, face, space’.
Sainsbury’s – The chain told MailOnline it is ‘working through the details of the government’s announcement on the easing of restrictions and will keep our customers and colleagues updated’.
Morrisons – The supermarket is believed to be waiting for the Government’s plan and workplace guidance to be published, which will then reviewed in line with its own policies before any decision is made.
Asda – The supermarket said on Twitter today that ‘as per government guidance we will encourage shoppers to wear a mask, however this will be down to the individual as to whether or not they wish to wear a mask when shopping in store’.
Co-op – The chain is yet to make a decision on masks, with a spokesman telling MailOnline it is ‘reviewing our policy in light of the new Government announcement’.
Iceland – An Iceland spokesman told MailOnline today that it was ‘currently reviewing our policies in line with the latest updates from the Government on the easing of restrictions, and will continue to do so as further updates are provided’. It added: ‘The safety of our customers and colleagues will continue to be our priority as restrictions are eased and we will update on any changes as we are able to do so.’
Waitrose – The supermarket told MailOnline that bosses are ‘awaiting Government guidance and we will work through that when we have it’.
Tesco – Not yet responded.
Aldi – Not yet responded.
Lidl – Not yet responded.
Marks & Spencer – Not yet responded.
RESTAURANTS AND CAFES
Nandos – The chain told MailOnline that masks ‘will be worn at the discretion of staff and customers’ and hand sanitiser ‘will remain on offer at every restaurant’. It said the rule of six will no longer apply ‘so larger tables will be allowed’ and it will start accepting walk-ups again, but till safety screens and enhanced cleaning will remain.
Mitchells & Butlers – A spokesman told MailOnline that it looks forward to ‘trading again without restrictions and at full capacity, allowing our business to continue its recovery from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.’ He added: ‘As we progress to trading without legal restrictions guest and team member safety will remain our top priority. We will confirm what our policies will be from July 19 in due course.’
McDonalds – The chain told MailOnline it was not yet able to share any updates.
KFC – Not yet responded.
Burger King – Not yet responded.
Pizza Express – Not yet responded.
Costa – Not yet responded.
Caffe Nero – Not yet responded.
Starbucks – Not yet responded.
Pret – Not yet responded.
Wagamama – Not yet responded.
Star Pubs – Bosses are waiting on the detailed government workplace guidance which is expected later today, and it will then be up to staff and customers to make their own decisions on face masks and socially distancing. Most of Star Pubs are leased and tenanted, which means it will effectively be up to each pub to decide.
Youngs – The chain told MailOnline today: ‘We will no longer ask staff or customers to wear masks. We will leave it to them to decide for themselves to or not to wear masks. We will be lifting social distancing in pubs and operating in line with all the latest government guidance.’ The pubs will also maintain additional cleaning protocols and other measures such as increased ventilation, with windows and doors open ‘at every opportunity’.
Wetherspoon – Not yet responded.
Greene King – Not yet responded.
Fullers – Not yet responded.
City Pubs – Not yet responded.
Stonegate – Not yet responded.
Trains – The Rail Delivery Group, which represents UK train operators, such as Avanti West Coast, TransPennine Express and Southeastern, told MailOnline today that rail companies ‘will ask people to follow the government guidance and, out of respect for others, wear face coverings if an indoor setting is busy’. A spokesman added that train travel is ‘low risk, with the majority of carriages well ventilated by air conditioning systems or by doors and windows’. She added that as restrictions lift, they will continue carrying out extra cleaning and providing better information about how busy services are, so that ‘passengers can travel with confidence’.
Buses and coaches – The Confederation of Passenger Transport, which represents the bus and coach industry including National Express and Megabus, has called for clearer regulations from the Government but said in the absence of that, passengers’ choices will be respected. A spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We expect that many people, especially in busy places, will follow the Prime Minister’s call to continue to wear a face covering as a courtesy to others.’ But they added that passengers ‘will find it difficult to understand why the Prime Minister has singled out public transport as somewhere to wear a face covering when a range of other activities share its characteristics’. A spokesman continued: ‘We now need to see clear guidance for operators and customers but, in the absence of regulations, it is important that we respect everyone’s right to choose whether to wear a face covering. The industry is doing everything it can to ensure people can travel with confidence. Operators will continue to deliver enhanced cleaning regimes, ensure buses are well ventilated and provide tools such as apps to allow customers to see how busy their bus is and help plan their journey in advance.’
National Express – A spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We are all responsible for keeping each other safe. We are advising customers to follow the guidance for the relevant country they are travelling in. We will ask them to continue to be considerate of others and respect their personal choices.’
Transport for London – No decision announced yet for mask wearing on the Overground, Underground or bus services in London. TfL has not responded. Mayor Sadiq Khan has been considering a bid to force passengers to keep wearing masks.
Free Now – A spokesman for the car ride-hailing app told MailOnline: ‘We are working with regulators to understand if there will still be industry-wide requirements on mask-wearing from Jul 19. Whilst we await this, we will recommend face masks to customers and drivers but give them both the choice on what to do, leaving them with the freedom to agree what is comfortable for them during a ride.’
Uber – Not yet responded.
Ola – Not yet responded.
Bolt – Not yet responded.
Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association – Not yet responded.
National Hair & Beauty Federation – Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NHBF, told MailOnline that the industry group supports the Government over it making the wearing of face masks will be recommended but not mandatory, for close contact services where a mask does not get in the way of the service being delivered. But he added: ‘Everyone will still need to think about how to reduce the risk to themselves and to others. If salons or individual hair and beauty professionals prefer for clients to keep their masks on for some or all of their treatments, it’s important that that they make this clear before their appointment to avoid any awkwardness. This could be through a notice on the website or social media, as well as telling them directly when they book.’
Toni & Guy – Not yet responded.
Rush Hair – Not yet responded.
HOLIDAYS AND HOTELS
Centre Parcs – Center Parcs chief executive Martin Dalby said today that staff and guests will be encouraged to wear masks at his resorts because public health is ‘absolutely our number one priority’. However, he also told Radio 4’s Today programme that he will not be ‘policing’ the advice, and no one will have to present vaccine passports. Mr Dalby added: ‘We’re not going to open up everything from next Monday, it’s going to be gradual and we will keep it under constant review. The health and safety of both our employees and our guests is absolutely our number one priority. So there will still be limited numbers of activities, limited numbers in terms of restaurants and cafes, and we will take a gradual approach to this.’
Radisson – The hotel chain said ‘local regulations’ will be followed on measures such as wearing face masks, with a spokesman telling MailOnline: ‘Specifically for the UK this means that, in accordance with the guidelines issued by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday July 12, Radisson Hotel Group will continue to recommend face masks for its employees in indoor situations.’
Butlins – Not yet responded.
Haven Holidays – Not yet responded.
Hilton – Not yet responded.
Marriott – Not yet responded.
Travelodge – Not yet responded.
Premier Inn – Not yet responded.
Holiday Inn – Not yet responded.
Novotel – Not yet responded.
Crowne Plaza – Not yet responded.
Ibis – Not yet responded.
Best Western – Not yet responded.
Mercure – Not yet responded.
WORKING FROM HOME
LAW: The long-standing government ‘work from home’ order is being officially scrapped.
ADVICE: The PM urged people not to rush back to the office, saying he did not expect the whole country to return on Monday. The guidance states: ‘Whilst government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, government would expect and recommend a gradual return over the summer.’
NatWest – The bank told MailOnline it will ‘be inviting a small number of colleagues in England to return to the office’ from next Monday, and will ‘encourage colleagues in England to continue wearing masks in our buildings and branches’. It will also ‘maintain social distancing measures in our buildings and branches for colleagues at this time’. A NatWest Group spokesman said: ‘Our current plan is to start to implement a phased return to the workplace, with our priority workers returning from 19 July, and to adapt to our new ways of working over the summer, with the majority of UK staff expected to be back in the office in September. This is dependent on government and public health advice, across the different jurisdictions in which we operate which we will continue to monitor closely.’ The bank’s ‘priority workers’ are defined as ‘those who are key workers, in regulated roles, where there is a client need, and people who need to work in the office for wellbeing reasons’. It added: ‘Under our new ways of working framework, we expect around 87 per cent of our colleagues to adopt a hybrid working pattern.’
London Stock Exchange – The LSE said it is not implementing any changes to its Covid-19 guidance from next Monday, although it does expect more people to return to its UK offices from September.
Amazon – Amazon is not implementing any changes to its working guidance from next Monday, although it does have return to office guidance for corporate employees which is set to come in from September. This states that its new baseline will be three days a week in the office, leaving flexibility to work remotely up to two days a week. Separately, corporate employees will have the choice to work up to four weeks per year fully remote from a domestic location, without the expectation that they will commute into an office during that time.
Vodafone – A Vodafone spokesman told MailOnline that the company intends to welcome its UK office-based teams back from September. She added: We will be taking a flexible approach, with a combination of home-working and time together in offices. We aim to work in a way which offers the best of both virtual and office-based working. The extent of virtual working will vary by role, and our offices will evolve to become places where we can come together when needed for connection, collaboration and creation. Our priority, of course, is to keep everyone safe, and we’ll adapt our plans if we need to as circumstances change.’
Goldman Sachs – The company has not sent any new communication to staff since a memo at the start of May, in which the company said 60 per cent of its London staff had been into the office at least once in the previous month. Its offices at Plumtree Court have been open throughout the pandemic and since the lockdown has been lifted, it has seen a gradual uptick in numbers of staff returning. Now, the company is at roughly 40 to 45 per cent staff back in its London office, which works out at about 2,300 employees. It has also asked staff for their vaccination status.
British American Tobacco – A BAT spokesman told MailOnline: ‘Our number one priority continues to be to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our employees and we are following UK Government workplace guidelines. Once the Health and Safety Executive has released its updated COVID secure workplace guidance, we will take some time to understand what is needed to ensure a safe return to site.’
Aviva – The insurance company told MailOnline that they ‘look forward to welcoming our colleagues back into our offices’, adding: ‘We expect to see more of our people returning and will encourage them to remain aware of what they can do to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Our focus continues to be on the safety and wellbeing of our people, customers and communities.’ The company also said that the ‘vast majority of people at Aviva want to work flexibly in future’. It continued: ‘Our people need to work in ways that deliver the best outcomes for our business and our customers. That will involve some time in an office for most people, for example for team meetings and when work benefits from face-to-face collaboration. This will vary by role and we’re supporting leaders to help their teams navigate this transition to smart working. We’re reshaping our office space to reflect this, with more areas for breakouts and collaboration and less space dedicated to rows of desks.’
Santander – The bank has decided that its current working from home arrangements for non-branch roles will not change before September 6, but added: ‘There will be more opportunities for colleagues to work from an office as restrictions are eased across the UK.’ It is planning for a phased return in two months’ time and will be maintaining safety measures such as hand sanitiser and temperature scanning.
Nationwide – The building society said that throughout the pandemic, it has kept its offices open for those that needed to come in. A spokesman told MailOnline: ‘N ow that the message from the government has changed, we will slowly open more space and continue to monitor the guidelines. Back in March we announced our Work Anywhere approach that gives colleagues the flexibility to work in a way that’s best for them. We know that just 6 per cent of colleagues want to work in an office full time and we’ll continue to embrace this new way of working to ensure it works for both Nationwide and our colleagues.’ The company added that it will ‘monitor and review colleague feedback, office capacity and the guidance ensuring that people are given enough space and are able to respect peoples choices and ensure colleagues feel comfortable’. The spokesman also said: ‘Colleagues in our offices can wear face coverings if they choose to.’
HSBC – Not yet responded.
Barclays – Not yet responded.
Lloyds – Not yet responded.
Standard Chartered – Not yet responded.
Facebook – Not yet responded.
Google – Not yet responded.
Apple – Not yet responded.
Unilever – Not yet responded.
Associated British Foods – Not yet responded.
GlaxoSmithKline – Not yet responded.
Reckitt Benckiser Group – Not yet responded.
Diageo – Not yet responded.
BT – Not yet responded.
O2 – Not yet responded.
EE – Not yet responded.
IAG – Not yet responded.
PWC – Not yet responded.
LAW: The public had been told that Covid status certification would not be needed over the summer, but that they could be introduced over the autumn and winter
ADVICE: Owners of busy indoor venues such as nightclubs and busy city-centre bars have been told to consider bringing in the passports. The government will ‘encourage’ businesses and large events to use the NHS Covid Pass in ‘high risk settings’ – that is, where people are likely to be in ‘close proximity to others outside their household’. Few details have been given, but the guidance could cover theatres, cinemas, indoor concerts and exhibitions. The government many consider mandating certification in certain venues at a later date.
Night Time Industries Association – Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said the decision to go ahead with the reopening was ‘the correct one’, adding that the Government were ‘right not to mandate the use of Covid status certification systems’. He continued: ‘Much of the night-time economy relies on spontaneous consumers and by permitting businesses to opt out the Government have allowed for this trade to continue.’
Proud – Alex Proud, owner of Proud nightclubs, said the plan for Covid passports was ‘deeply worrying and frustrating because it’s discriminatory against younger people who are less likely to have been able to have the vaccinations.’ He told the BBC: ‘We emphasise that we’ve invested in sanitation and we feel these measures are adequate rather than overly authoritarian Covid passports.’
Pryzm, Bar&Beyond, Eden and Fiction – Peter Marks, chief executive of Rekom UK, which owns 42 nightclubs including chains Pryzm, Bar&Beyond, Eden and Fiction, said he was ‘thrilled’ to be able to reopen next Monday ‘at full capacity and without any requirement for a negative Covid test, something we believe would create a barrier to both customer enjoyment and getting the industry back on its feet’. He said reopened nightclubs will operate as pubs are currently running.
Music festivals – Paul Reed, chief executive of the Association of Independent Festivals, said the body was working with the relevant Government departments on the publication of guidance to ensure that festivals can reopen safely this summer. He added: ‘Organisers and local authorities alike can have confidence in their decision making and measures introduced – including Covid certification where considered appropriate. Ensuring the safety of audiences and risk mitigation has always been central to what festival organisers do each year and it will continue to be more so than ever as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.’
Live music events – Greg Parmley, chief executive of music industry trade body Live, said the live music industry had been ‘devastated’ by the pandemic, losing over 85 per cent of its income in 2020. He added: ‘We are delighted to finally start to reopen on July 19. Being able to reopen safely has always been extremely important to us, which is why the industry has participated in and paid for, a number of Government pilot events. We are experts at managing risk and know that as restrictions ease, public health needs could also change at varying rates across the country. We were supportive of mandatory Covid certification for large events to allow us to reopen and now expect those large events, where organisers feel it is necessary, to move forward with certification to build customer confidence.’ He also said that the industry needs a ‘Government-backed insurance scheme to provide us with financial security’ amid uncertainty over whether any restrictions will have to return.
Source: Daily Mail UK