Tier 2: City of London says clarity on when office workers can return needed

Joanna Bourke
·2-min read
<p>Scores of London office staff have worked from home since March 2020</p> (Getty Images)

Scores of London office staff have worked from home since March 2020

(Getty Images)

A number of firms in the Square Mile will be “breathing a collective sigh of relief” that the capital has escaped the toughest Covid-19 restrictions, but an update on office workers is needed, the City of London Corporation has said.

City of London Corporation policy chair Catherine McGuinness, said: “A blanket recommendation to work from home into the Spring risks stalling the capital’s recovery and damaging long-term competitiveness."

The comments came as London was put into Tier 2 in a decision which means restaurants and many pubs and bars will be able to reopen on December 2. Under Tier 3 hospitality venues are closed, but takeaway sales are permitted.

Watch: How England's new three-tier COVID system will work

Under all tiers everyone who can work from home should do so. Numerous office workers have done their jobs remotely since March when the first lockdown started.

McGuinness said: “Many businesses across London and the Square Mile will be breathing a collective sigh of relief now that they will be able to trade in the run up to Christmas as a result of this decision."

But McGuinness added: “That said, as we look to the new year, firms in the City urgently need clarity on when office workers can return to Covid-secure workplaces. This is vital in order to get as much of the economy operating as possible and protect livelihoods. We also need a thriving economy to help pay for the vast amount of support being provided at this time.”

Landlords were left disappointed this week about the lack of a return to offices proposal in the government’s Covid-19 winter plan, as numerous central London headquarters remain severely under occupied.

Guidance set out this week “encourages employers to enable a greater degree of home working”, and the government wants people to work from home where they can.

Watch: Why can't governments just print more money?

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