The latest relaxation of coronavirus lockdown measures includes a reduction in the two-metre social distancing rule to one-metre plus mitigating precautions, enabling thousands of additional businesses to reopen.
Additional businesses able to reopen include pubs, bars and restaurants, hotels and hairdressers, providing they have taken measures to ensure that they are Covid-19 secure.
Updated advice for those businesses allowed to reopen from July 4 is now being signposted via Safely Reopening GM - #SafeGM, a coordinated campaign across Greater Manchester which was launched to coincide with reopening of non-essential retail on 15 June.
Specific support for those business available to reopen from July 4 is being provided via the #SafeGM campaign hub, including:
- Updated advice for businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector, as well as hairdressers and barbers
- Updated travel and transport advice, including information for people working in the hospitality sector, as well as people visiting bars, restaurants and other leisure and hospitality venues in the evenings
- Information to encourage safe and responsible behaviour among members of the public
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “It is vitally important that safety continues to come first as lockdown restrictions are further eased and additional parts of the Greater Manchester economy are able to reopen.
“The Safely Reopening GM campaign will continue to provide guidance that will protect people from the potential spread of the coronavirus, and I urge employers to ensure that they are playing their part.
“It is particularly important that people continue to ensure the welfare of key workers and those workers who are playing a key role in reopening the economy.”
Councillor Elise Wilson, leader of Stockport Council and GMCA Economic Lead, said: “The economic impact of the coronavirus has been felt across Greater Manchester and the leisure and hospitality sector is among the hardest hit.
“While there will be some relief that many businesses in these sectors are among those that will be able to reopen from July 4, they must do so safely if we are to avoid the risk of further lockdown and ensure that employees and members of the public are not placed in a vulnerable position.
“Employers also need to consider the impact of changes to the availability of travel options for workers at different times of day and night. Other businesses must also continue to follow the guidance and advice signposted by the Safely Reopening GM campaign.”
Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, said: “Whilst it’s welcome news for many people and local businesses that our cafés, restaurants and pubs will be allowed to reopen from 4 July, the risk of coronavirus is far from over and safety must come first.
“Anyone can get the virus, anyone can spread it, and for some people it can be fatal. I am urging everyone to take precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones and keep our communities safe. By continuing to do your bit and follow the guidelines, you can reduce the risks of a second wave and the reintroduction of restrictions that could come with it.
“Many businesses are choosing to reopen later in the week or stay closed so please check before traveling, and where you can, stay local to reduce travel on public transport. A lot of hospitality staff will never have worked in these conditions before, so please have patience and be kind to your fellow customers and the staff serving you.”
Delivered by the Growth Company in partnership with TFGM and GMCA, Safely Reopening GM continues to reinforce the protection of public health as a key priority, with companies urged to allow home working if possible and travellers encouraged to consider all other travel options before using public transport and to walk or cycle instead where possible.
Where home working isn’t possible, Safely Reopening GM will provide support and advice enabling employers to support staff in commuting and working safely.
Specific guidance for businesses able to open from July 4 includes:
- A relaxation of the 2-metre social distance rule to one-metre-plus, providing businesses are covid-secure
- Minimising face-to-face contact with customers, only allowing table service, providing hand sanitiser and keeping a temporary record of all your customers for 21 days to support the NHS Test and Trace initiative
- Hairdressers and barbers will be allowed to reopen on July 4, providing appropriate precautions are in place – such as staff wearing visors, seating customers at least one-metre apart and installing Perspex screens at the till
To help with the return to work, specifically from July 4, updated travel advice has been provided by TfGM, including:
- Hospitality and leisure businesses should encourage employees to consider other options before using public transport including cycling, walking and taxis
- They should also make sure their employees plan their journeys and check their transport is running, particularly for the trip home
- Leisure and hospitality visitors should avoid public transport if possible – cycle or walk for shorter trips or as part of your journey if appropriate
- Consider the safest way to travel for your day or night out and consider taxis as an alternative to public transport.
- Plan ahead, allow extra time for your journeys and be patient when travelling
- Avoid travelling at the busiest times if possible, particularly between 5pm and 7pm Monday to Saturday.
- If you have to use public transport, look after yourself and others by following safety guidance and respecting other passengers.
- On public transport, you must wear a face covering unless you are exempt*. Keep your distance from other passengers, clean your hands frequently and use contactless payment.
Employers are urged to continue following a set of Safely Reopening GM guidelines, including:
- Supporting home working wherever possible
- Where possible, only bringing a proportion of their staff back at one time and staggering the working day by allowing some staff to start earlier and others to finish later to ease the peak on public transport.
- Providing good hygiene facilities.
- Enabling social distancing and where operationally impractical employers should implement measures to lower risk of transmission e.g. providing PPE
- Boosting employee confidence by conducting and publishing a risk assessment
- Workplaces, especially Retail should boost confidence by displaying a notice visibly in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they are implementing Government guidance
- Acknowledging the needs of individual employees, who may need to consider childcare or other responsibilities
- Promoting good mental and physical health
Introduction of staggered shift patterns and more flexible working arrangements are expected to improve work-life balance and boost productivity as business leaders begin the process of reopening the Greater Manchester economy.
Information supporting employers and employees in reopening the Greater Manchester economy safely is available via https://togethergm.org/reopening and will also be shared on social media using the #SafeGM hashtag.
* Exceptions include young children, people with breathing difficulties and people whose disabilities makes it difficult for them to wear a face covering.