The Work From Home guidance, which has been in place in Northern Ireland for some months in a bid to reduce the spread of Covid-19, has now been officially lifted by the Stormont Executive. This will come as a big relief to many shops in towns and cities up and down the country who will be hoping there will be a surge in trade in the coming weeks as workers venture out again.
A Task Force Had Been Set Up To Assess The Impact
The Executive had set up a task force to assess the impact of changing the guidance, and after taking on board the latest medical and scientific information they have decided to drop the advice to work from home.
A spokesperson for the Executive is quoted in an article in the Belfast Telegraph talking about the lifting of the guidance and they said:
“As with the removal of other Covid-19 measures, this should not be interpreted as meaning there is no risk from Covid or that the pandemic is over.
“While life continues to get back to normal, we must remain careful.
“Employers may still wish to consider how remote or flexible working could be used effectively to meet organisational need, for instance through adopting a hybrid working approach.
“Where staff are attending or returning to workplaces, employers should carefully consider what practical mitigations might be put in place.
“This update reflects the evolution of our response to the pandemic. Our vaccination programme and the use of innovative Covid-19 treatments means the risk of serious illness has been significantly reduced.
“By taking sensible precautions in our everyday lives, we can continue on the route back to normality.”
A Much Needed Boost To The High Street
As we mentioned retailers will certainly welcome this news and in the same article Chief Executive of Retail NI, Glyn Roberts, is quoted saying:
“Employees returning back into the office will provide a much-needed boost to high streets across Northern Ireland,” he said.
“Safely reopening offices and workplaces is not only vital to increase high street footfall, but also for our economy and returning our society to normal.
“As an organisation, we have been calling on employers from January to safely bring their employees back to the office and it is great to see Northern Ireland finally aligning with other parts of the UK with its return-to-workplace message.
“Over the coming weeks and months, we hope to see a more full-scale approach from other Northern Irish businesses in returning employees to the workplace.”