The Prime Minister gave an update this evening announcing the next stage in the government’s plans to support wider recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. They have published their Summer 2021 roadmap which can be found here:
It has been confirmed that the decision whether to move to Step 4 on the 19th of July will be taken on the basis of an assessment of the four tests, including the impact on the NHS, on 12th July. If the government moves to step 4 on the roadmap the government will look to:
- Reinforce the country’s vaccine wall of defence through booster jabs and driving take up.
- Enable the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws.
- Retain proportionate test, trace and isolate plans in line with international comparators.
- Manage risks at the border and support a global response to reduce the risk of variants emerging globally and entering the UK.
- Retain contingency measures to respond to unexpected events, while accepting that further cases, hospitalisations and deaths will occur as the country learns to live with COVID-19.
This document goes into further detail on the arrangements that will be put in place in England. Some key changes are below:
- It is no longer necessary for Government to instruct people to work from home. Employers can start to plan a return to workplaces.
- Social distancing rules (2 metres or 1 metre with additional mitigations) will be lifted. You should continue to consider the risks of close contact with others, particularly if you are clinically extremely vulnerable or not yet fully vaccinated. Social distancing will only be required in limited circumstances: ports of entry for passengers between disembarkation and border control in order to manage the risk of Variants of Concern being transmitted between individuals; and people who are self-isolating should also continue to socially distance from others, particularly where they have had a positive test. Health and care settings will continue to maintain appropriate infection prevention and control processes as necessary and this will be continually reviewed. Guidance will be updated based on the latest clinical evidence this summer.
- Regulations that place COVID-secure requirements on businesses, including table service, and distancing between tables, will be lifted. ‘Working Safely’ guidance will be updated to provide examples of sensible precautions that employers can take to reduce risk in their workplaces. Employers should take account of this guidance in preparing the risk assessments they are already required to make under pre-pandemic health and safety rules.
- Businesses must not require a self-isolating worker to come to work, and should make sure that workers and customers who feel unwell do not attend the setting.
- The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, published guidance will advise that wearing a face covering will reduce your risk and the risk to others, where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
- All remaining limits on social contact (currently 6 people or 2 households indoors, or 30 people outdoors) will be removed and there will be no more restrictions on how many people can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors.