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4 step plan to ease lockdown

Update: 12 July 2021

On Monday 12 July the government confirmed that the lifting of lockdown restrictions is set to go ahead next Monday (19 July).

All remaining legal restrictions on social contact and events will be removed, and all remaining closed settings are expected to be able to open. People and businesses will be able to make more informed decisions about how to manage any risk to themselves and others. 

When the changes come into place on Monday, the advice is that we are still encouraged to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces, and some restrictions on international travel will stay in place. Nightclubs and other venues are encouraged to request proof of vaccination or tests in order to protect customers. 
 
The lifting of restrictions includes the following:

  • Social distancing restrictions will end, including the lifting of limits on social contact and the 1m-plus rule removed 
  • The legal requirement for face coverings will stop (although their use will be advised in healthcare settings and closed crowded spaces, and will remain compulsory on all public transport in London)
  • Events, hospitality and other businesses will be allowed to operate fully, including nightclubs - with capacity caps lifted, and a lifting of the ‘table service only’ rule
  • The limits on numbers at weddings and funerals will be lifted, plus restrictions on communal worship will finish
  • Capacity limitations for concerts, theatres and sporting events will no longer be required
  • Guidance on working from home will end
  • Limits on named visitors to care homes will be removed

As the guidance moves towards removing the final restrictions, it is important to note that we will be expected to remain aware of the virus and what we can do to stop the spread. 

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise, but with fewer hospitalisations and deaths, it appears the vaccine rollout is working. Please remember - you only have maximum protection from the virus after your second dose.

Full details can be found on the government website

 


Update: 14 June 2021:

In a Downing Street press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a 4-week pause of national lockdown guidance, with the date of the final step being moved from 21 June to 19 July.

The decision came after a sharp rise in cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant (originally discovered in India), with a further review occurring after 2 weeks in case risks have reduced. 

Despite the news, some restrictions will change on 21 June, with changes to the current rules on:

  • weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and wedding receptions or civil partnership celebrations
  • commemorative events following a death such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering
  • large events pilots
  • care home visits
  • domestic residential visits for children

A full update to the guidelines, with advice on support bubbles, childcare, places of worship, care home visits and more, is available on the government website. 

While the news is disappointing and will mean some plans are put on hold, it is clear that this short delay is necessary in ensuring the final step out of lockdown restrictions is taken safely, while we await the full impact of the vaccine roll out. 

Each step out of lockdown has been taken based on the government's assessment of the COVID-19 situation to ensure we are taking each step safely. More information can be found on the government website. 

A brief summary of the current and up coming steps are below.


Step 3: Took place from 17 May

  • The rule of six was lifted outdoors and replaced by maximum gathering of 30. Two households, or the rule of 6 people, can now meet indoors
  • Indoor hospitality, cinemas, hotels, performances and sporting events also re opened, with limitations on capacity
  • The Stay in the UK restriction was lifted people are be able to travel to green list countries, if they permit inbound travel. Check the government website for guidance and a list of countries categorised as 'green'.
  • Guidance for close contact (including hugging) between friends and family has been updated, with people exercising their own personal judgement in line with the risks.
  • Care home residents will be able to have up to five named visitors, with two visitors able to attend at once provided they are tested and follow infection control measures. Residents will also have greater freedoms to leave their home without having to isolate on their return.

Changes from 21st June

Some restrictions will change on 21 June, with changes to the rules on:

  • weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and wedding receptions or civil partnership celebrations
  • commemorative events following a death such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering
  • large events pilots
  • care home visits
  • domestic residential visits for children

A full update to the guidelines, with advice on support bubbles, childcare, places of worship, care home visits and more, is available on the government website. 


Step 4: From 19 July

  • Reopening of remaining premises, including nightclubs.
  • Ease the restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3. 

This will be subject to the results of a scientific Events Research Programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer.

It is crucial that we carry on following the guidelines and working together, for example remembering ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’. Complying with the COVID-Secure measures that remain in place. Getting tested regularly. Getting vaccinated when offered. 

If we all continue to play our part, we will be that bit closer to a future that is more familiar.