May 15, 2020

Five new task forces to facilitate re-opening of the economy sectors

Government sets up five task forces

The task forces are intended to examine how reopening could happen in each sector, and will liaise with unions and industry leaders, as well as public health experts and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The five areas covered are all ones that have to wait before even limited reopening efforts can begin, in most cases until at least July:

  1. pubs and restaurants
  2. non-essential shops
  3. recreation and leisure
  4. places of worship
  5. international air travel.

Many of these face long-term structural issues as well as short term practical issues of social distancing, with gig economy being just one aspect.

One of the task forces, led by the Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy, will specifically focus on the safe reopening of pubs and restaurants, and will engage with public health experts and key stakeholders from across the sector throughout the process.

Richard Lake, head of Leisure & Hospitality at Royds Withy King, comments:

"It is one thing to reopen in July, but another to convince both employees and customers that they are safe to go out. It is encouraging then to see the Government taking steps to help reopen the hospitality sector and engage with key stakeholders in the industry. There is no 'one size fits all' approach, so as operators look to pivot and re-invent themselves, there must be tailored support for an industry that is the biggest employer in the UK."

The Government's timetable for easing of the lockdown

Pubs, restaurants and cafes, along with hairdressers, museums, cinemas, libraries and places of worship, are all earmarked to open again in the third phase of the Government's lifting of the lockdown, with 4 July put as the earliest possible date this could happen.

Some other sectors, such as other shops and food markets, could open sooner, in Phase two of the economic reopening, possibly from 1 June. As yet, no date has been set for aviation.

The three phases: at a glance

The three phases of easing lockdown

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