On 10 May the Prime Minister announced that there would be a phased return to normal working practices for those unable to work from home. 

From 13 May, the UK entered a phased plan for recovery with different timetables possible for each of the devolved nations. Individuals and employers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should check local advice as circumstances change. 

The UK government’s plan is set around five key measures that will determine the ability to move to the next stage:

  1. sufficient NHS capacity to provide critical care and specialist treatment to those that need it
  2. sustained fall in daily death rates
  3. data from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) shows sustained fall in the rate of infection (transmission among the public)
  4. PPE and testing capacities must meet current and future demand
  5. confidence that adjustments will not cause a second peak.

Key dates

13 May: Phase 1 begins

This allows the following:

  • those unable to work from home can return to workplace settings as long as new Covid-19 Secure Guidelines are followed. Those who can work from home must continue to do so. 
  • public can leave the house for unlimited exercise and are able to drive to another location or meet in open green spaces with one other member of a different household. Outdoor gyms and theatres remain out of service. 
  • paid childcare services can resume
  • government advice now recommends face coverings are worn on public transport and in some shops.
  • those in clinically vulnerable or shielded groups must continue to stay at home and minimise trips out.

1 June: earliest date the UK may enter Phase 2

If data indicates further steps are allowable there may be:

  • a phased return for early-years centres and primary schools to reopen for more students
  • reopening of non-essential retail (excluding hospitality and personal care, eg hairdressers) as long as retailers are able to follow the new Covid-19 Secure Guidelines
  • sports and cultural events able to restart behind closed doors for broadcast only
  • reopening of local transport in urban areas

4 July: earliest date the UK may enter Phase 3

If data indicates further steps are allowable there may be: 

  • possible reopening of some leisure and hospitality premises, personal care retail and public spaces (eg places of worship).