Work from home if you can, unless you can’t, in which case definitely try to go back to work, but do not – if at all possible – take the train.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s much-anticipated statement about the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown was roundly criticised on Monday, with the head of the largest police officers’ union, the Police Federation, arguing that officers needed “crystal clear guidance” rather than “loose rules”.
Meanwhile, the replacement of the government’s “Stay at Home” message with “Stay Alert” has led to concerns that citizens will consider the crisis over.
Police Federation in England and Wales (PFEW) Chief John Apter argued that the latest advice from the government will make it difficult for police officers to enforce the new rules.
“Policing this crisis has been tough, a lack of clarity and mixed messages has made that even harder,” Apter said.
“If we fail to get clear and unambiguous guidance policing this crisis will become almost impossible.”
His advice to workers on construction and manufacturing, who are unable to work from home, was chief among concerns. Trade unions, in particular, are concerned that the guidance may put undue pressure on workers to try to return to work even at the risk of their health.
This is especially true for those workers with children, given that there was no firm decision from the government on when children would go back to school.
But it wasn’t just Johnson’s advice on working from home that has led to confusion.
He also told Britons that the one-hour restriction on exercising outdoors was being lifted, and people could now spend “unlimited amounts” of time outdoors.
They would also be allowed to drive to public beauty spots, including beaches, and play golf and tennis, and meet a friend – but not more than one – in a park as long as they sit two metres apart.
At the same time, fines for breaking social distancing rules were to be increased.
‘Vague and imprecise’
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she didn’t know what the new advice meant and has asked the UK government not to promote a “vague and imprecise” message in Scotland.
Johnson is due to answer questions in parliament on the government’s lockdown strategy on Monday.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Keir Starmer said that the prime minister had failed to provide either clarity of consensus to the British people.