Ministers consider using Covid certificates to reopen offices without social distancing once most adults have been vaccinated and return people to abandoned cities
- Review of using Covid status to enter pubs also looks at plan for offices
- Ministers hoping to lure staff back to work after homework is over
- There are fears that if they don’t return, city centers could be decimated
Ministers are examining plans to fully open offices, without social distancing, once the majority of adults in the UK have been vaccinated using Covid certificates.
A review led by Michael Gove looking at whether documents proving vaccine status could be used to drive customers to pubs, also looks at workplaces, it was reported today.
The idea of using it in pubs and other hangouts has sparked controversy and opposition from civil liberties campaigners and MPs.
But this has not stopped officials from investigating whether it could be extended to offices, factories and other workplaces, reported the Financial Times
It comes after attempts by senior ministers to lay the groundwork for staff to return to the workplace when home working rules end.
There are warnings that the massive move to work from home during Covid could permanently devastate city centers, hold young people back at the start of their careers and hinder team work.
There are warnings that the massive move to working from home during Covid could permanently devastate city centers.
When asked about the broader plan for covid identity documents over the weekend, Cultruee secretary Oliver Dowden told the BBC, ‘We’re looking at civil liberties concerns, we’re looking at its usefulness.
“But we’re also looking at the benefits it could bring in the way you described to further ease the economy and allow us to get back to doing the things we love.
‘Of course we would never want to do this on a permanent basis, it’s just whether it can be a tool in the short term.’
Last week, Rishi Sunak warned that workers could “vote with their feet” and quit their jobs if they are not allowed to return to the office at least part-time.
The Chancellor said sitting with colleagues in the workplace encourages “meetings that happen by chance” and “people cheating on each other.”
He urged companies that benefited from the pandemic to boost economic recovery by investing and hiring.
UK companies are exploring how to tackle the issue of remote versus office work once the lockdown is over, and many support a hybrid model.
Mr Sunak admitted last week that working from home is ‘probably’ here to stay – at least part-time.
But in a joint interview with the Daily Telegraph and the Sun, he praised the benefits of the physical workplace and said the opportunities offered in the office cannot be beaten.
However, Boris Johnson was criticized over the weekend for saying the British have had plenty of ‘days off’ as he turned down calls for a holiday when the lockdown is lifted.
The prime minister was accused of being “irresponsible” after insisting that the most important thing is to get people “back in the office” as the pandemic abates.
The comment came when Mr Johnson addressed the online Conservative Spring forum yesterday, delivering an optimistic message about his hopes of getting back to normal.
When asked if the UK could have a national holiday dubbed ‘National Saturday’ once the pandemic subsides, he said Chancellor Rishi Sunak was ‘very keen’ to get people back into the office.
“The common view is that people have had quite a few days off, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing if people saw their way to make a cursory attempt to get back to the office,” he added.
Shadow Secretary of Employment Andy McDonald told the observer that Mr Johnson’s comments were “ arrogant. ”
On the one hand, he tries to appease the libertarian wing of his party by talking about going back to the office, then suggesting that he is cautious. He just throws out comments like this. You cannot ride two horses at the same time. It’s not leadership, it’s just arrogant, ”he said.