Re-opening The UK Economy: TheTraffic Light Proposal
On the 16th of April 2020 the lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic was extended in the United Kingdom. The First Secretary of State, Dominic Raab, extended the lockdown by an additional three weeks.
There has been widespread public speculation on the prospect of reopening public gatherings in the UK in the near future.
In some quarters, people claim that some senior ministers are proposing a ‘traffic light system’ method of re-opening the economy. With the proposed plan, the lockdown could be relaxed a little bit starting from the 11th of May. This would see small shops, including hairdressing salons and nurseries, being allowed to open. School would equally be allowed to open, starting with primary, GCSE and A level students returning to school on a part-time basis. This would be the red phase of the project and would equally include permit for ‘essential travels’ .
The Amber phase, being the next and which could set in on the 25th of May, could see primary school pupils going back to school in full while maintaining social distancing. People would be allowed to travel on public transport with their face masks. Restaurants could also be allowed to open and receive customers while companies with staff strength not more than 50 can also open for business.
The green light phase of the proposal would see public places and cinemas reopening to business. Other public occasions, like white wedding ceremonies, can be allowed to receive larger crowds. This phase could set in on the 15th of June.
However, people over the age of 70 could be required to remain within the ‘red phase’ for longer periods. This could continue until a vaccine is discovered for the coronavirus pandemic.
In spite of these widespread expectations and conjectures, Michael Gove has somewhat debunked these claims. He stated that it was quite understandable that the public were anxiously waiting and expecting the economy to reopen anytime soon but insisted that it would be too early to put such into consideration- at least not in the few weeks coming.
In spite of reports by The Mail on Sunday to this effect, Mr Gove while speaking to The Sky News reporter Sophy Ridge, on the 19th of April, insisted that the government had set some tests which must be passed before even considering relaxing the lockdown. He also said it would be too early to tell.
He noted that a lot of measures had been put in place to track infections, deaths and also reduce new cases. However, he added that although the curves were flattening, the government wouldn’t want to take any steps earlier than necessary in easing the lockdown. This is especially so as the NHS and the health of the public were of utmost importance to the government.