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‘We are not in a hurry’: Offices dismiss lockdown confusion and keep doors firmly shut

PUBLISHED: 14:01 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:06 11 May 2020

Offices across Norfolk, including Virgin Money Giving, are to remain closed. Picture: Archant

Offices across Norfolk, including Virgin Money Giving, are to remain closed. Picture: Archant

Archant © 2008

Businesses in Norfolk are waiting for clearer guidance from government before racing back to their offices.

The Prime Minister changed guidance over the weekend on people going to work, saying those that cannot work from home should start going into their workplace.

What this means for companies which can operate from home, but have offices where social distancing can be implemented, was not addressed.

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However industry leaders in the county have come to the conclusion that until expressly told to do so, they will continue to keep the doors locked.

Aviva in Norwich has said it is in Aviva in Norwich has said it is in "no rush" to reopen. Pic: Archant

James Shipp is a partner at accountancy firm Lovewell Blake. He said the company, which has offices across Norfolk, is “making the best use of technology - and for the time being we do not envisage that changing.

“We have no plans at this stage to start bringing people back into our offices; we will only be doing that when the guidance from government is that it is safe to do so, and when we can be certain that we are able to ensure the safety of our staff and clients.”

His opinion was echoed by Aviva, which employs 5,000 people in Norwich’s Surrey Street.

A spokeswoman said: “We are not in any hurry to move people back into offices, and our offices remain closed for general access.

County Hall will also remain closed for the forseeable future. Photo: Steve AdamsCounty Hall will also remain closed for the forseeable future. Photo: Steve Adams

“The safety and wellbeing of our people continues to be our priority and we will follow the UK government guidance around measures and timing.”

Likewise, Norfolk County Council has said its staff will continue to work from home.

A spokesman for the council said that “appropriate social distancing and hygiene and safety arrangements [will be put] in in place for those team members who will be required to attend the workplace first.”

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Other major employers in the area such as lawyers Mills and Reeve, which has offices in St James Ct in Norwich, and Virgin Money Giving, which has a hub at Discovery House, has said their positions “remain unchanged”.

Have you gone back to work today? Let us know how. Email eleanor.pringle@archant.co.uk


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