The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called on the government to work with businesses on a roadmap out of lockdown to reopen the economy.
The government is expected to reveal its exit strategy towards the end of this month and the CBI has identified six elements that will help businesses plan for a relaxation of of restrictions.
The CBI said any reopening date should be informed by health data, but that it would be critical to confirm again “what will be considered low, medium or high-risk economic activity, so that businesses can understand what will open sooner or later”.
It said there would need to be a decision about whether to return to a tier system and, if so, “what will now be permitted under each tier as more people become vaccinated”.
The CBI maintained that it was essential to identify and understand the conditions that need to be met before lifting restrictions and “ultimately the need for social distancing”.
Other factors include the need to outline how the vaccine will be deployed once the most vulnerable groups are inoculated. The CBI said: “We believe there are strong arguments for phase two of the rollout being done in a way that maximises the safe reopening of the economy, such as prioritising key enablers like schools, transport and other public services.
The organisation also urged the government to think about how “regular mass rapid testing in the community and workplaces could allow a wider, speedier reopening of the economy” and creating “bespoke, detailed plans for harder-to-open sectors of the economy, such as testing regimes for international travel, or the conditions for activities such as hospitality and live events to return”.