With no community spread of Covid-19 infections over the last two weeks, the easing of restrictions, starting next month, on the proportion of employees that will be permitted to return to workplaces and on crowd sizes for events and functions will be widely welcomed. It amounts to a carefully calibrated further step towards re-opening the economy, enabling a return to greater normalcy in work arrangements and social life - although it will still fall short of the pre-Covid-19 status quo ante. Employers are still encouraged to support as many employees in working from home as possible, to limit the numbers exposed to infection at workplaces. Safe management measures, such as mask-wearing and social distancing will need to continue. Social gatherings will still be limited to no more than eight people, and pre-event testing will be required for groups beyond a certain size.
The new guidelines will have important implications for employers, landlords and venue managers. With more people likely to return to workplaces, employers will need to review many of their policies. Some relate to physical space. They must ensure that workplaces are adequately sanitised and meet social distancing requirements. Landlords must ensure that ventilation and air conditioning systems are configured and common areas and touch-points disinfected to minimise the possible spread of infections. Pandemic-management protocols for building entry, temperature screening and visitor management, as well as isolation facilities, must remain in place and be subject to inspection.