Here’s when people could be allowed to return to offices in Scotland
Lockdown restrictions in Scotland have been further eased following the latest review by the Scottish government.
A number of new measures came into effect from 19 June, with more relaxations to be enforced in July as part of phase two of Scotland’s lockdown exit plan.
But what do the rules say about returning to offices? Here’s what you need to know.
When can office workers return to workplaces?
Since lockdown was imposed in March, the Scottish government has advised workers to work from home, rather than their usual workplace, wherever possible.
This guidance has not yet changed, with home working still being recommended above a return to offices.
However, the Scottish Government has outlined plans for allowing office workers to return.
Guidance states that in phase three of lockdown, non-essential offices and call centres will be allowed to reopen, following the implementation of relevant guidances, including rules on physical distancing.
Despite plans for reopening of indoor workplaces, working from home and working flexibly will still remain the default.
Non-essential offices and call centres are not expected to be allowed to reopen before 23 July, following the next lockdown review.
What safety measures will be in place?
The government is yet to issue guidance on what measures businesses will need to implement to allow office workers to return to physical workplaces safely.
Employers and employees have been advised to discuss their working arrangements, with employers urged to take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home. This includes providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.
Employers who have staff in their offices or onsite must take all reasonable measures to ensure that employees are able to maintain a two metre distance from each other at all times.Workers should also frequently wash their hands, for at least 20 seconds each time, and use hand sanitiser where soap and water is not available.
While remote working should remain the default position for those who can, where this is not possible, businesses have been encouraged to manage travel demand through staggered start times and flexible working patterns.
When will Scotland enter phase 3?
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on 24 June that further relaxations to rules in Scotland will follow next month.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon outlined dates for the reopening of several businesses in July, including pubs, restaurants and indoor shops.
She said that she hopes phase three will begin in Scotland on 9 July, after the next review from the Scottish Government, which is held every three weeks as a minimum.
Any changes that are made could then come into force within days of this date, providing it is considered safe to do so.
However, Ms Sturgeon warned that she does not expect all of the phase three easing to happen at one time, but in gradual stages instead.