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Reopening your Business Safely after Lockdown  

Written by MS
15/03/2021 10:00:02

The end is in sight! Next week will mark the one-year anniversary since Prime Minister Boris Johnson first announced the UK lockdown on March 23, 2020. It’s been a long and particularly tough 12-months for all members of society, but things are beginning to look more hopeful. 
The UK government recently announced its roadmap out of lockdown, which has been split neatly into four separate stages.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the key dates (subject to change):
  • 8 March: Schools reopen 
  • 29 March: Rule of Six returns in outdoor spaces (or two households) 
  • 12 April: Personal care businesses can reopen, and outdoor hospitality
  • 17 May: Indoor hospitality, retail, non-essential stores and leisure places can reopen
  • 21 June: End of all social distancing restrictions

This is exciting news for us all, unfortunately, however, this does not mean that COVID-19 has all but disappeared. As various officials and scientists have noted, we will be living with variations of the coronavirus for many years to come, and this means that some restrictions may return in future (particularly in the winter months). 
Staying safe, then, is at the forefront of all our minds. In this latest blog from The Plastic People, we are going to cover numerous ways that we can reopen the UK safely and return to business as usual. We hope that by following these steps, along with advice from health officials, the country can limit further transmission, and prevent any future lockdowns. 
This guide primarily focuses on staying safe and limiting transmission in various public spaces, which are likely to see an increase in footfall this summer. If you have extra tips you think we should add, get in touch! We can be reached on all social media @barkstonplastic
Do we need to keep Social Distancing?
Social distancing is the hot-button issue of the moment. We have all gotten used to keeping a 2-metre space in public over the last year, and crossing to the other side of the pavement if necessary. The question remains, though, whether we will need to continue social distance during the summer if all restrictions are lifted. 
The answer? Maybe. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the transmission rate -- the infamous ‘R’ number -- will be this summer. The government will likely release information about this closer to the time and certain spaces, such as nightclubs and concerts, may require items such as a ‘COVID or Vaccination Passport’. 
Before the summer, however, social distancing remains key. This means that if, and when, retail and non-essential businesses open in May, stores must ensure that they create COVID-secure environments for their customers. We wrote a blog on how to increase footfall at your business during the pandemic last year. You can check that out by clicking here.
In short, here are some of the key ways you can keep a social distance in the meantime:
  • Signs, signs and more signs to help remind customers/staff of distances. 
  • One-way travel systems around stores, schools and offices.
  • Designated cleaning and hand-washing stations for everyone to use. 
  • Masks are key if ventilation is poor. 
The long-term solution is ensuring that there is a continually robust rollout of the COVID vaccination programme. This has already been carried out effectively by our spectacular NHS. The current goal is to have every UK adult receive the first dose of the vaccine by July. If this is successful, it will open more doors for us in terms of the lifting of restrictions. 
Preventing Transmission in Small Spaces
Small spaces are a breeding ground for airborne viruses such as COVID-19. Advice issued early in the pandemic still stands regarding these locations. We should all try to minimise the chance of transmission in our office, business, storefront, school or any other public location. 
A few of the points mentioned previously apply here too. Masks are key in small spaces to mitigate transmission. Good hygiene and cleaning routines are, of course, also optimal for ensuring a room or building is COVID-secure. 
Here are a few other ideas to keep in mind:
  • Ventilation: Keeping good ventilation running through your business is an entirely free method to prevent transmission of COVID-19. As the roadmap out of lockdown takes place primarily in the spring and summer months, we can all begin to keep windows open more regularly to allow for fresh air to rotate in. 
  • Limiting Traffic: When space is particularly small or can easily become crowded, you should put in measures to reduce the number of people who can enter at any one time. This may mean putting a sign in your shop front specifying the number of customers who can enter at once. 
We hope this gives you some ideas about how best to organise your business as the end of lockdown looms. If you would like some guidance that is tailored to the office space, you can check out a previous blog of ours by clicking here. We explored how COVID-secure office environments lead to productivity!
Similarly, we have also looked at how to reopen schools safely in a previous blog post. You can check that one by clicking here.
Our team is always available to provide more guidance if needed. Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns, and we can recommend what methods are best to keep yourself and those around you safe. If you have any enquiries about this or our range of Protective Screens, email our customer services team at
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