LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson is plotting a staged exit from lockdown that would see the UK’s battered economy returning to work over the next five months after leaping ahead of most of the world on vaccinating its people.
After moving faster than all other Western countries to vaccinate its population, the UK’s $3 trillion economy is aiming to be among the first major Western economies to return to some semblance of normality — though still far behind the furnaces of global growth in China.
Johnson, who will set out the path out of lockdown on Feb. 22, said the staged exit plan would be cautious but irreversible, although schools are likely to return on March 8 along with a mass-testing program to monitor the outbreak.
The Daily Mail newspaper reported that while office workers will be told to continue working from home for some time, parts of the economy such as holiday lets and larger hotels will reopen in April.
Outdoor leisure such as theme parks and zoos as well as golf, open-air gyms and tennis could also resume in April, though restaurants would have to wait until May.
“Leisure businesses may not return to ‘broadly normal’ until July under a roadmap out of lockdown,” the Mail reported, though it said the final decision had yet to be made by Johnson.
“Office staff are expected to be told to keep working from home when the prime minister unveils his roadmap,” the Mail said. “The ‘work from home if you can’ message will continue for the foreseeable future.”
Boris Johnson mulls coronavirus lockdown exit for Britain after 15 million people vaccinatedUK economy shrinks by 2.6% in November, first drop since April