And so it begins. For those of us in England, today marked the start of a four-week (at least) lockdown.
For agencies who had begun to welcome people back into the office, it means a change of tack. The new regulations coming into force today make it a criminal offence for a person to leave their home "without reasonable excuse". Going to work is only considered "reasonable excuse" if it's not "reasonably possible" to work from home.
The question of what is "reasonably possible" of course varies from job to job. Some might argue that roles involving complex technical equipment like edit suites cannot reasonably be done from home - but the guiding principle, as my colleague Colin Leckey explains in more detail in this article, should probably be the approach the employer took back in March.
If between March and June a company closed its doors and managed to carry on its business with all staff working from home, it's going to be hard to justify keeping the office open now. The cautious approach, however disappointing, would be to lock the doors again and hope it really does only last four weeks.
A business which closed its office from March to June but decides to keep it open now, and to permit or even require staff to carry on attending, therefore faces an obvious question – on pain of criminal liability – as to what exactly is different about the next four weeks compared to the lockdown period earlier in the year?