Coronavirus: Businesses ready to restart in weeks once given the green light

Hot desking could be a thing of the past. (Getty/Ezra Bailey)

British firms say they can be up and running in less than three weeks time as the government prepares to unveil plans to kick start the economy.

A survey conducted by the British Chamber of Commerce revealed that most businesses in the UK would require only one to three weeks notice, with small businesses particularly keen to restart operations.

The stats are positive news as the government is set to announce plans for getting workers back into offices and factories this weekend. Prime minister Boris Johnson is to reveal a "roadmap" out of lockdown on Sunday.

Measures are likely to include reduced hot-desking, as well as urging employers to minimise numbers using equipment and the introduction of staggered shift times.

However, it is expected the guidelines will say bar areas, seated restaurants and cafes must remain closed.

BCC director general Adam Marshall said: “Over the coming days, business communities will require clear forward guidance from government on plans to re-open parts of the economy, transport networks, schools and local services. 

“For these reasons it will be crucial for the government to maintain and evolve support for businesses and to give as many firms as possible the chance to navigate a phased return to work.

“While the fight against coronavirus must remain the top priority, the communication of plans for the easing of restrictions must also begin immediately.”

Read more: Coronavirus: UK employers furlough 6.3 million workers as scheme cost hits £8bn

The BCC also said that 74% of its members had so far used the government’s furlough scheme, with a further 11% saying they would apply in the future.

It comes as chancellor Rishi Sunak warned on Tuesday he would look to wind down the scheme as more than half of British adults are now receiving money from the state.

The government is subsidising the wages of 6.3 million workers under the scheme.

Sunak told ITV: “I'm working, as we speak, to figure out the most effective way to wind down the (furlough) scheme and to ease people back into work in a measured way.

“As some scenarios have suggested, we are potentially spending as much on the furlough scheme as we do on the NHS, for example. Clearly that is not a sustainable situation.”

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