search icon

Government lockdown easing

On Sunday 11th May 2020, the Government announced a new plan that outlines their broad approach to ease lockdown. The plan is built on a 3-step strategy with the aim to lift a range of restrictions on businesses and get the UK economy back on track. Devolved Governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have outlined approaches to ease lockdown restrictions within their respective countries.

Step 1

13th May 2020

Step 2

1st June 2020

Step 3

4th July 2020

These dates are conditional on the UK Government determining that the latest data on COVID-19 indicates it is appropriate to take the next step.

The first step of the current three planned steps came into effect on Wednesday 13th May 2020.

Read the Government's updated COVID-19 recovery strategy (.pdf).

Blue icon of three people connected in a networkStep 1

The first step is a minor easing of some lockdown restrictions.  A summary of the main points for businesses in the short term are:

  • Continue to work from home wherever possible.
  • Workers who cannot work from home should travel to their workplace if it is permitted to open – workplaces that are open should introduce the new “COVID-19 secure guidelines”
  • Businesses required to close by government should remain closed
  • Easing of restrictions on outdoor leisure time – people can exercise outdoor as much as they wish
  • Outdoor leisure time can be spent with 1 person outside of your household, as long as social distancing is observed
  • Face coverings are recommended for those who are in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible
  • Public transport should not be used wherever possible – but if not avoidable social distancing must be followed at all times


Blue icon of an open bookStep 2

This step will see a further easing of the lockdown across the UK to be implemented when conditions permit – no earlier than June 1st 2020.

The main changes in step 2 are expected to be around the re-opening of schools in a phased return – reception, year 1, and year 6 will be the first to return.  The Government are also aiming for years 10 and 12 to receive some classroom teaching before the summer holidays and to return the remaining primary school children before the summer. 

Step 2 also includes the potential re-opening of non-essential retail where it is safe to do so, and dependent on those businesses being able to follow the new COVID-19 secure guidelines.

The Government will also look to permit sporting and cultural events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast. Local transport and an increase in family or social contact is to be expected during this phase.


Step 3

This step will see additional measures reduced if conditions allow – no earlier than 4th July 2020.

This step is expected to see some of the remaining non-essential businesses who have been required to close re-opened.  Expected sectors include personal care, hospitality, public places, and leisure facilities. 

Working safely during COVID-19

The new Government guidance around working safely during the pandemic has been released. For those businesses that are currently permitted to open there are 5 steps that must be followed to ensure employee wellbeing in the workplace.

  • Work from home – if you can
  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with trade unions or workers. 
  • Maintain 2 metre social distancing wherever possible
  • In situations where 2 metre distancing is not possible – manage transmission risk
  • Reinforce cleaning processes

Government guidance

To find out specific guidelines for your type of workplace, select one of the options below to be taken to the sites for detailed guides and information.

Construction & outdoor work

Factories, plants & warehouses


Labs & research facilities

Offices & contact centres

Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery

Shops & branches


How Sage can help

As a customer of Sage, you have a range of support tools available to you and your business during this time. With access to our webinars taking you through the Government schemes, free training on our products, online HR advice and access to a wide range of trials on our products, we have everything you need to continue to run your business during this transition. 

Customer support help centre

Sage Advice blog

Free solutions and training

Financial support: UK Government funding support tool

Sage Legal Disclaimer

All information provided by Sage (UK) Limited (“Sage”) is solely intended to provide you with general guidance on matters related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact on your business. All information is valid at the time of publishing and is intended for general guidance purposes only and is provided "as is" with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained, and without any warranty of any kind, express or implied. Sage may provide links to certain third party web sites. Sage does not accept any responsibility for, nor makes any representations as to the accuracy of, any content in such third party web sites. Whilst Sage has made every attempt to ensure that all information provided has been obtained from reliable sources, it is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the information. As such, the information does not constitute legal or professional advice and before making any decision or taking any action you should consult a professional adviser. In no event will Sage be liable to you for any direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental loss or damage arising out of or in connection with your use of the information provided.