Brakes put on back to work drive: Call for Britons to return to desks is paused until next week amid concerns about official social distancing guidance
A public information campaign urging people in Britain to get back to work following the coronavirus lockdown has had its first air date pushed back.
The series of adverts encouraging people to return to offices was originally due to begin tomorrow, but it will not now start until next week at the earliest.
The UK campaign is yet to have been given a slogan because Downing Street officials are still divided on how strong the encouragement should be.
A person walks through a deserted Canary Wharf London Underground station yesterday
The move suggests the Cabinet Office wanted more civil servants back to their desks before urging the rest of the country to return, reported the Daily Telegraph.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to want wants Parliament ‘back to normal’ by the end of 2020, urging MPs to lead from the front on the return to workplaces.
Mr Johnson spoke to Conservative backbenchers of the importance of returning to workplaces as the UK seeks to strike a balance between public and economic health.
Downing Street fears huge job losses in town and city centre shops and cafes if workers do not return to their pre-lockdown commuter patterns.
The concourse at London Waterloo station was very quiet during rush hour yesterday morning
But there are allegedly divisions in Government over whether the time is right, with the Covid-19 rate still growing in parts of the UK, to get employees back into work.
Yesterday, the Bank of England told MPs the Government’s Covid-safe guidelines for employers meant it was unlikely offices could get back up to full capacity.
This is due to the need for staff to be kept apart, with workplace advice including introducing one-way systems and staggered shift times.
Employers are also advised to limit the number of colleagues that staff members are exposed to in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
A nearly empty concourse at London Paddington train station yesterday morning
Alex Brazier, the bank’s executive director for risk, told the Commons Treasury Committee: ‘Because of those constraints I don’t think we can expect to see a sudden and sharp return of lots of people to the very dense office environments that we were used to.
‘We should expect a more phased return depending on the public health outcomes that we’ll see over the coming weeks and months.’