There were a lot of changes that were taking place in the UK because of the pandemic. Many of these were in varying degrees across the world as well. Some countries like the United Kingdom and America had a tough time dealing with the pandemic, seeing adverse effects on the people in the country and their economies. Companies and businesses had to make a lot of changes to adjust through the pandemic. When world governments heard the announcement about the virus around February March 2020, they did not know how they were supposed to deal with it. There was no cure and people were not sure if they knew how they would treat the symptoms. The immediate response to the virus was to shut borders and impose various restrictions on people and goods travelling back and forth. Additionally, most counties including, the UK, implemented multiple national lockdowns, wherein the entire country shut and people were not allowed to leave their house unless for essential services. The first lockdown was for 14 days, with the ones that followed within the same duration.
One of the rules implemented at the time was maintaining social distance. People had to stay away from one another, keeping about a meter or two feet between one another in lines, queues and other places where a large number of people were gathering. Other changes involved wearing face masks, which not only reduced the chances of a person catching the virus from others but also brought the chances of someone with the virus transmitting it, down to almost nil. According to one of the reports, 40% of the people who caught COVID could have avoided it if everyone wore a mask. People were also using hand sanitiser as much as they can which was a great benefit since people, whether they like it or not, come in contact with surfaces that others have touched at grocery stores, among other smaller tasks.
They even implemented rules about closed indoor places. Most places like restaurants, diners, gyms, among others were temporarily shut since they had people in enclosed spaces. Since people could not always wear masks when they were working out, there were chances that they could catch the virus breathing the same air. Furthermore, there were rules about offices, with the smaller ones not allowed to entertain the same number of people that they did in the past. The larger ones had to spread out the people, and some had their staff working from their board and meeting rooms to make sure they were conforming to the rules. Additionally, people started working from home, which was a significant improvement when it came to the spread of the virus but not from the point of view of companies. Most companies who were working with the staff that were meeting their deadlines and submissions from home mentioned that they noticed an overall decline in productivity.
With all the changes taking place across the UK, a lot of companies could not keep up and they were forced to let large numbers of employees leave. The number of unemployed people in the UK was constantly increasing since companies were shutting down. The Government implemented the furlough scheme to reduce the number of people losing their jobs by paying their salaries so they could stay working in the company.
Eight months into the pandemic, the number of people with COVID in the UK started spiking again. Although it was against the plan and the Government did not want to shut the country down, they did not have a choice and went through another lockdown. This time, however, unlike the past, they had the law assist with the implementation of the new rules. People had to follow the rules, and it was quite an inconvenience for a lot of the smaller companies who had started hiring since they were now on another break.
Additionally, companies who were hiring and had job openings were unsure about the people they were bringing on board since they were not conducting interviews and meetings in person. The UK immediately began working on implementing background checks to verify that the people they were working with did not have a criminal record. In the past, they randomly handled a background check
People were working virtually with most of the work was happening over virtual calls like Zoom.
The same checks were not handled for everyone, and some needed a more detailed check depending on the job that they were applying for and the description. Some jobs like working at a preschool, hospital, or old age home needed information on whether they could work with people in those age groups, while others needed thorough searches. While several agencies coordinated background checks, some required coordination with an external agency or even connections to the police department.
While the markets started opening again, people were not sure how things were going to pan out since there were significant updates with a vaccine, but they did not have enough information to make the call. While some countries are easing into normal life, others are taking the process a lot slower. The unemployment rate in the UK was predicted to be close to double digits by the end of the year, at close to 10%, however, with the Government working on some changes and they were slowly making changes allowing people and companies to begin working again, which was a significant improvement.
Now, almost a year later, the world is shutting down its borders to the UK again. The UK has discovered a new strain of the virus that is faster spreading and deadlier than the previous one, and most countries are very strict about letting people from the UK enter.