As the UK enters 'lockdown', these non-key workers are still being told to come into work by their bosses

Louis Staples
Tuesday 24 March 2020 09:30
news

The UK has entered the next level of coronavirus prevention measures.

After days of criticism for being too lenient, prime minister Boris Johnson has introduced tougher restrictions on movement in a bid to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed. These include staying inside, at all times, except to leave the house for essentials like food, medicine, or exercise once a day.

Everyone who isn’t a “key” worker has been asked to stay at home and work remotely if possible. Key workers include people who work in supermarkets, transport and the health service.

But after days of urging people to stay at home, and now these more dramatic measures, some employers are still asking their employees to come into work. This is because the government's guidelines are just that: guidelines. Construction sites remain open and people who can't do their jobs remotely are still being told to come into work, even if they aren't "key" workers.

Times journalist Grant Tucker tweeted a screengrab of a text a friend had been sent by their boss, saying that they should turn up to work “as usual”. Tucker said he was “shocked and appalled” because these people aren’t key workers.

Infuriatingly, the responses to his tweet indicate that his friend is far from the only person to receive a text like this from a misguided boss. Tucker also included a clarification from a government minister which says that you do not *have* to be a key worker to go to work... right then.

Others shared their own screengrabs of similar situations, and some told stories of friends or families allegedly receiving similar messages.

These texts come amid rising criticism of Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Sadiq Khan has urged the government to force construction sites to close.

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