Employers are expected to be instructed to implement staggered arrival and departure times for those who have critical roles in business or who cannot work from home – with workers advised to use the stairs instead of lifts. Last week, Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said there was “no doubt” that reopening schools would increase the R value - despite pupils returning to class in European countries like Denmark and Switzerland. Ministers want police to be able to crack down on "the small minority who break the rules", at a highly sensitive time for the country, as they attempt to ease some restrictions while keeping the spread of the virus under control. Meanwhile, commuters could be asked to book a slot at railway stations through their smartphones as part of efforts to stop overcrowding once coronavirus lockdown measures start to lift, industry sources have suggested. He said the Government was working with tech firms to develop apps to allow people to “find out what parts of the transport network are overcrowded and avoid them” to maintain social distancing after lockdown. But in step three, at the earliest by July, if the conditions set out by the Prime Minister are met, they would support the reopening of “at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, provided they are safe and enforce social distancing,” he said. Ministers are beginning to encourage firms to offer such services, with George Eustice, the Environment and Food Secretary, stating on Friday that McDonald's drive-through restaurants were "made for the social distancing situation we are in". Customers maintain social-distancing measures at B&Q in Leyton, East London Credit: Getty Images Europe However, Mr Johnson is not expected to change the rules on other retail yet – although chains like B&Q have already reopened some stores. Gyms and leisure centres The Prime Minister said people would be allowed to “take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise” but they will have to maintain the two-metre social distance and only participate with household members. It is hoped doubling the fine each time a person who repeatedly flouts rules to stay at home will give police greater powers to punish those ignoring warnings they could be spreading the coronavirus and putting lives at risk as well as stretching NHS resources.
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