BUSINESS leaders say firms will need clear and practical guidance from Government as staff start to return to more workplaces.
And the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is urging employers to communicate with staff on the next steps for returning to work and what measures they will be taking.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said businesses are keen to get back to work if it is safe to do so, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation.
She welcomed the clarity on the types of workers that are able to go to work – such as those in manufacturing and construction – and those who should continue to work from home.
“Companies across our patch are keen to get back to work but health must always come first.
“As the prime minister has set out, this is not an end of lockdown, and where people can work from home, they absolutely should remain doing just that.
“Initially, this gives businesses in sectors such as manufacturing and construction the greenlight to restart operations if they had paused.
“But they will want guidance on how they can do that practically – which we expect to come in the coming days.
“Of course, firms will have their own measures in place on social distancing and other ways to keep staff safe but Government guidance and advice will be essential over the coming days.
“It’s vitally important that businesses communicate with their staff on the next stages of returning to work and what measures they will need to follow.”
British Chambers of Commerce Director General Adam Marshall said businesses shared the prime minister’s ambition to see more people return safely to work over the coming weeks.
He added: “Companies will do everything they can to protect employees and customers, maintain social distancing and operate successfully as more sections of the economy are permitted to re-open.
“Businesses will need to see detailed plans for the phased easing of restrictions, coordinated with all nations across the UK and supported by clear guidance. It is imperative that companies have detailed advice on what will need to change in the workplace, including clarity on the use of PPE.
“Firms will also need to know that government support schemes, which have helped save millions of jobs in recent weeks, will continue for as long as they are needed so that they can plan ahead with confidence.
“The timing of further easing of restrictions must be guided by the public health evidence, but businesses need their practical questions answered so they can plan to restart, rebuild and renew.”