Gerard Stilliard, head of personal injury strategy at social justice law firm, Thompsons Solicitors, comments on Boris Johnson’s announcement today regarding new COVID-19 restrictions after lockdown ends on 2 December:

“With the government intent on reopening non-essential retail from 2 December, it’s vitally important that all retail staff return to a ‘COVID- secure workplace’ and those employers who fail to take the proper steps to ensure the safety of their workers are penalised appropriately.

“The lead up to Christmas is always a busy period for the retail sector, and this year there is the extra risk that employers push their staff to make up for time and sales lost to lockdown.  The safety of all staff matters and that includes temporary staff taken on for the pre-Christmas period, desperate for work in a recession yet with limited contractual sick pay or leave, and unable or unwilling to speak out about workplace concerns.

“Re-opening needs to be done in a sensible, measured, and safe manner. Without that, we are looking at a free-for-all mass spreader event - topped with tinsel - and it’ll be the workers who will pay the price.”