A new government campaign starting next week will be encouraging people back to the workplace.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has now said that it is safe for employees to go back to work, however, Labour has urged that nobody should have to “choose between their health and their job.”

From next week, the government will urge businesses to make work environments COVID-19 secure and will highlight the benefits of returning to the workplace.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News: “What we’re saying to people is it is now safe to go back. Your employer should have made arrangements which are appropriate to make sure it is coronavirus-safe to work. You will see some changes, if you haven’t been in for a bit, as a result.”

“Clearly there are things you can’t just do remotely, and a lot of those people have carried on working. But for the rest of us, also, you just miss out on that human spark when you’re not with people. You will find the office has been reorganised into a coronavirus-avoidance friendly environment and probably a few changes as a result,” he added.

The campaign messaging will mostly be through regional media. The push is unlike Scotland, where the government is telling people to continue to work from home where they can.

Labour’s shadow business minister, Lucy Powell, has warned that the government should rule out any campaign that suggests people might lose their jobs if they do not return to the workplace.

The push to get employers back to the workplace comes as the head of the CBI warned of city centres becoming “ghost towns”. 

“The costs of office closure are becoming clearer by the day. Some of our busiest city centres resemble ghost towns, missing the usual bustle of passing trade.

“This comes at a high price for local businesses, jobs and communities,” said Dame Carolyn Fairbairn.