A plan to end the blockade and bring the British economy back to life could be unveiled as soon as Monday, as ministers speed up talks with corporate executives.
Industry leaders have been asked to send specific proposals to the Business Department on how their companies could safely reopen within a deadline on Saturday, insiders said.
It means ministers can be informed on Sunday, ready to announce the new strategy the following day if they wish. Plans suggest that weeks of severe restrictions on British life may be coming to an end, to be replaced by a “new normal” in which shops and other businesses can reopen with strict security measures in place.
An announcement will also ease the pressure on anxious companies in desperate search for clarity, with many companies dangerously close to running out of liquidity.
However, checks will only be loosened if scientific evidence indicates that coronavirus infections have fallen to a safe level. About half a dozen sectoral groups have been launched to examine how different parts of the economy can restart work, insiders said.
These concern outdoor activities, leisure and wellness, non-food retail, office work, industrial and industrial work, distribution and logistics.