PERSIMMON has become the latest housebuilder to announce the reopening of sites after shutting down operations to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The move follows the separate announcements the Vistry Group and Taylor Wimpey, which said it would start to reopen its sites south of the Border from May 4, while Scottish sites remain under Scottish Government non-essential construction guidance.

Persimmon shut down its construction sites, sales offices and moved non-site staff to work from home on March 25.

It told the City it will begin a phased re-opening from Monday, April 27.

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David Jenkinson, chief executive of Persimmon, said: “The UK Government has been very clear on the importance of the construction sector to the UK economy and its desire to see activity continue through the current period of crisis, provided appropriate public health measures are adopted.

“Nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and wellbeing of the public, our colleagues, sub-contractors and suppliers.

“Having spent the last month developing and testing new site protocols that incorporate the necessary social distancing and protective measures, we believe that we are now able to return to site safely and support the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic.”

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It said it had secured around 820 gross private sales reservations in the past five weeks.

It added that cancellation rates remain at “historically low levels” despite the pandemic.

Persimmon said that although a third of its workers have been unable to work during the shutdown period, the company has continued to pay them in full. William Ryder, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said “it looks like volumes have taken a hit during lockdown”.

Shares in Persimmon sat at 0.18%, or 4p, up at 2,193p.