Departmental taskforces to chart routes out of lockdown for sectors closed by coronavirus

Minister-led groups to tackle changes faced by aviation industry, shops, pubs and other sectors affected by coronavirus

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The government has set up five departmental taskforces to develop plans to reopen specific sectors of the economy as restrictions imposed to contain coronavirus are lifted.

The five groups, which will each be led by a minister, will implement the road map published this week that sets out the next steps out of lockdown.

Two groups will be set up in the Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy to plan for the reopening of pubs and restaurants, and of non-essential retail including salons.


A Department for Culture, Media and Sport taskforce will oversee the recreation and leisure industry, including tourism, culture and heritage organisations, libraries, entertainment and sport.

A group responsible for planning the reopening of places of worship, including faith, community and public buildings, will sit in the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and an international aviation taskforce will sit in the Department for Transport.

The groups will work with civil servants across government and businesses, public health bodies, trade unions and devolved administrations to develop guidelines for the sectors in question.

They will ensure the guidance is informed by expertise and input from businesses in the relevant sectors, and give stakeholders direct access to ministers.

Each of the sectors involved faces specific challenges returning to business as usual after the coronavirus lockdown. 

For example, people entering some businesses like pubs, hotels and non-essential retail shops that operate in indoor, crowded spaces, as well as places of worship, are likely to face a significant risk of contracting Covid-19.

“It is the government’s ambition to open as many of these other businesses and public places as possible over the coming months, when the scientific advice provided allows us to,” the Cabinet Office said in a statement.

Many parts of the aviation industry meanwhile are in grave financial difficulty as flights have been grounded amid the crisis.

“These taskforces will be crucial to the reopening of Britain’s economy and each one will lead on developing new Covid-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of public places and businesses, where and when it is safe to do so,” the Cabinet Office said.

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