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  3. Health and safety the top concern for businesses coming out of lockdown

A poll by Robson Laidler Accountants of 550 small to medium business owners found that health safety is the primary concern of businesses preparing to open after the easing of the lockdown restrictions.

Though the government has issued health and safety guidance, the survey respondents indicated that they needed more detailed guidance on how to manage social distancing and PPE (personal protective equipment) in workplaces not designed to handle coronavirus protection measures. 

The second concern after health and safety was cashflow. Many businesses have not earned any income during their closure, so need to manage their finances carefully as the business restarts. Some businesses are arranging staged payments to suppliers to ease cashflow. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that, following extra government funding, they are restarting inspections. The HSE warned businesses they will be fined for noncompliance with social distancing. The general secretary of the Prospect union, Mike Clancy, whose membership includes HSE inspectors, said that the HSE lacks the resources to carry out regular spot-check inspections. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that a track-and-trace system will be ready by June 1, which he hopes will prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infections. A total of 25,000 trackers are being recruited to monitor the contacts of people who have been infected with the virus.

It is hoped that tracking technology, combined with testing 200,000 people a day, will make it safer for people to return to work. 

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