The following information is based on government guidance published on 12 July. Please note that individual businesses will make their own decisions on what they expect from their customers (for instance health clinics may decide to keep all PPE in place and continue to follow the guidance for healthcare professionals) and that when new businesses such as nightclubs, re-open it is not yet clear whose responsibility it is that regulations are followed.
England will move to Step 4 of the Roadmap on 19 July but the Prime Minister stresses that we are still in a pandemic and that we all need to remain vigilant, exercise caution, and get both doses of the Covid vaccine (book here) when offered and self isolate if you have symptoms or if you are told to do so by NHS Test & Trace.
Current modelling suggests that COVID-19 cases will continue to rise as restrictions are eased especially as the Delta COVID-19 variant spreads more easily than the other variants that were previously most common. Hospitalisations, serious illness and deaths will also continue, albeit at a much lower level than before the vaccination programme.
The following steps have been announced:
- On 19 July, most legal restrictions will end, removing social distancing and social contact restrictions and enabling remaining businesses to reopen
- By the end of July, the government will publish an updated COVID-19 contain outbreak management framework for local areas
The government is keeping in place a number of key protections including guidance for individuals, businesses and the vulnerable, border quarantine, testing and encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high risk settings.
Key safety messages that will continue into Step 4:
- Meet in well-ventilated areas where possible, such as outdoors or indoors with windows open.
- Wear a face covering where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces and public transport.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze.
- Stay at home if unwell, to reduce the risk of passing on other illnesses onto friends, family, colleagues, and others in your community.
- Consider individual risks, such as clinical vulnerabilities and vaccination status.
- If you have symptoms, get the free PCR test and stay at home. Otherwise if you don’t have symptoms, keep taking the free lateral flow test (rapid Covid-19 test) twice a week.
Changes in Step 4:
From 19 July: