The GGF has compiled a detailed ‘best case scenario’ for each of the four nations of the UK plus the Republic of Ireland, mapping out the advice at each stage of the gradual return from Covid lockdown restrictions. 

But the organisation added a note of caution in the light of the unpredictable false starts of the past year, reminding members that all dates still depend on the government’s four tests of the recovery before they can be brought into effect.

Managing Director John Agnew added: “We are pleased to see the Government’s roadmap to recovery and hopeful that it all goes to plan, however there is still a long way to go to full recovery and companies should continue to act responsibly, follow the safe guidance and take all necessary precautions.”

The GGF guides for the separate nations are:


8th March

Meeting outdoors is allowed again this is detailed in the context of social and families meeting not work. The GGF will be seeking clarification from its Primary Authority Partnership and the Government on “meeting outdoors” as this could include safe canvassing.

  • Non-essential retail (including showrooms and concessions stores) to remain closed
  • Working in people’s houses can continue but safe guidance must be followed
  • Working on construction sites and manufacturing can continue but must follow the safe guidance (Site Operating Procedures)  

29th March

The ‘stay at home’ legal requirement replaced by guidance, restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can.

12th April

If all 4 tests have proven satisfactory to Government then;

  • All retail should be in allowed to re-open. This includes showrooms, concession stores, garden centres etc.
  • It is anticipated that canvassing, if it had not resumed beforehand should be safe to resume
  • Most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal

21st June

If all 4 tests have proven satisfactory to Government then;

Legal limits on social contact will be lifted but some guidance will remain

In Scotland

Subject to satisfactory conditions regarding the pandemic:

12th April

Essential retailers list expanded slightly and non-essential retail click and collect can resume. No details on whether non-essential retail (including showrooms and garden centres, concession stores) will re-open.

3rd May  

Non-essential work in the home may be allowed

A move beyond the strengthened level 4 into the variable levels is under the condition detail in the statement from the report here;

“Given the importance of vaccine roll-out to the safe return to geographically variable levels, we are therefore setting an important further condition that must be met in addition to the six WHO criteria for easing outlined above. This condition is that at least all of the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) groups 1-9 must have been offered a vaccination prior to the return to geographically varied levels.”

In the Scotland Vaccination deployment plan the groups through to 9 are expected to have had their first doses by “early May” and have started in March, See statement from the deployment plan;

JCVI priority groups 6,7,8,9 – We expect to start these cohorts in March and aim to complete first doses by early May 2021

The best case scenario is that at some point in March, Scotland may announce a move into the variable levels system however this would need to coincide with the World Health Organisation test being satisfied after the easing of the “strengthened level four”

In Wales

Lockdown continues with two six week reviews from 23 February. These reviews will determine whether the non-essential retail can re-open – though click and collect for non-essential goods can continue.

Working in people’s homes is allowed as long as the safe guidance is followed

Working factories and on construction sites can continue but site operating safety procedures and social distancing must be followed.  

In Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive has extended the lockdown until 1st April. From that date non-essential click and collect can resume. No further information on the easing of the lockdown have been released.

In Republic of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland government has extended the lockdown until 5th April and by this date will have made a decision on when to re-open construction and other industries.

John Agnew concluded, “The GGF is continuing weekly discussions with government on the issues affecting our industry including the resumption of canvassing and re-opening of showrooms. We hope these activities can resume soon for our sector but only if it is deemed safe to do so. In the meantime, I urge all Members and all companies in the industry to proceed with caution and continue to follow the GGF and Government guidance to protect the NHS and save lives.”

Other GGF guides can also be accessed:

See GGF Safe Guidance here
See GGF COVID Guidance Table here
Register for rapid testing in the workplace here
Vaccines explained – read more