EAST Lancashire residents, businesses and professional bodies have reacted to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Sunday about gradually easing lockdown restrictions.

During the broadcast, Mr Johnson said that people who cannot work from home should return to work but avoid public transport, that some schools could reopen on 1st June and that some hospitality businesses could follow suit on 1st July.

However, the plans have come under fire for an apparent lack of clarity and for failing to consider several issues faced by both workers and businesses.

Commenting on Facebook, reader Sue Smith said: “Totally unclear - I can travel to take some exercise in open countryside and stay away from strangers by socially distancing but I couldn’t meet other family members there and socially distance with them?”

Voicing similar concerns, Karen Hawthornthwaite said: “Schools may open in June with social distancing for certain years, well I'm a teaching assistant and I work on a one to one with my child how will that work?”

Val Dallison meanwhile simply described the plans as “clear as mud.”

Such concerns have been echoed by business representatives and unions across the country, with the British Medical Association describing the plans as confusing and risky.

BMA council chair said Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “As the Prime Minister said in his address to the nation tonight, the death toll in this country has indeed been tragic, and it would be irresponsible to allow any chance of a second spike of this virus, however, these measures risk doing just that.”

“There is no detail of how those being asked to return to work will be protected from the infection or prevented from infecting others and there are mixed messages about returning workers not using public transport when many will not own cars.”

He added: “Much of the government’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic have so far been inconsistent and lacking the absolute caution needed.

“We need to see clear plans and be confident that the shortcomings of the past are not repeated in the road map out of lockdown.”

Meanwhile a National Education Union survey found that 85% of respondents disagreed with plans to restart primary school lessons from 1st June, while 92% said they would not feel safe with the proposed wider opening of schools and 89% said they would feel unsafe sending their child back to school.

NEU joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: "The Government must work with the unions to establish a position which gains the confidence of staff in schools.”

She added: "The incoherence in this plan has generated genuine fear. For school leaders, the lack of clarity about what is expected before, or on 1 June, is simply unacceptable."

The plans have come in for similar criticism from the British Beer and Pubs Association, which is also concerned about the lack of plans for financial support amid fears that as many as 40% of UK will not survive beyond September without help.

Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association Emma McClarkin said: “With insufficient clarity as to when pubs will reopen, our sector remains in limbo and facing severe uncertainty and financial devastation.”