COVID restrictions are set to end in England from step 4 of the Roadmap after the Prime Minister set out how life will soon return close to normal.
The decision to open up will be made in a “balanced and careful way”, with the Prime Minister being clear that people’s personal judgement will now be key in learning to live with the virus. Legal restrictions are due to end on Monday 19 July, Subject to a final review of the data next week.
- The 1m plus rule will be lifted other than in specific places such as at the border to help manage the risks of new variants coming into the country
- Limits on social contact will end, meaning there will be no restrictions on indoor or outdoor gatherings
- All venues currently closed will be allowed to reopen
- Face coverings will no longer be legally required in shops, schools, hospitality, or on public transport although guidance will be in place to suggest where people might choose to wear one, such as “where you come into contact with people you don’t usually meet in enclosed and crowded places”.
- The guidance to work from home where possible will also end, to allow employers to start planning a safe return to workplaces.
- While NHS Test and Trace will continue to play an important role in managing the virus, the PM also signalled the government’s intention to move to a new regime whereby fully vaccinated people would no longer need to self-isolate if identified as a contact. Further details will be set out in due course.
- There will be no legal requirement on the use of Covid-status certification as a condition of entry for visitors to any domestic setting
- Proof of vaccination or a negative test will still be required for international travel, with the Prime Minister confirming that the Transport Secretary will provide a further update later this week on removing the need for fully vaccinated arrivals from an amber country to isolate.
As a result of the delay to the final step of the roadmap, the vaccination programme has saved thousands more lives by vaccinating millions more people.
Over 79 million vaccine doses have now been administered in the UK, every adult has now been offered at least one dose, and 64% of adults have received two doses.
The government has also confirmed the rollout will accelerate further.
The Prime Minister made clear that learning to live with the virus meant cases would continue to rise significantly, even if the success of the vaccination programme meant hospitalisations and deaths will rise at a lower level than during previous peaks.
He set out how cases could rise to 50,000 per day by 19 July, with daily hospital admissions and deaths also rising although more slowly.