Changes on 19 July:
England has moved to Step 4 of the road map published by the Cabinet Office for Changes on 19 July. In the announcement, the government warns that the Pandemic is not over and that cases continue to rise rapidly. Step 4 does not mark the end for the need for caution and restraint, and made it clear that this is not a return to normal. These changes have been planned to coincide with the end of school term, at a time when more activities can take place outdoors.
As part of step 4 the government has updated the guidance for individuals, businesses and those extremely vulnerable. Whilst formal social distancing rules have been removed, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
As no vaccine is 100% effective and, like all viruses, COVID-19 can mutate, key protections will still be necessary. The government advised that they will be keeping the following in place following Changes on 19 July :
- Testing when you have symptoms and targeted asymptomatic testing in education, high risk workplaces and to help people manage their personal risk.
- Isolating when positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace or when advised to by the NHS COVID-19 app.
- Border quarantine: for all arriving from red list countries, and for those people arriving from amber list countries, other than those UK residents fully vaccinated in the UK vaccine programme.
- Cautious guidance for individuals, businesses and the vulnerable whilst prevalence is high including:
- whilst Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer;
- Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport;
- being outside or letting fresh air in; and
- minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
- Encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high risk settings to help to limit the risk of infection. The Government will work with organisations that operate large, crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of the NHS COVID Pass. If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the Government will consider mandating the NHS COVID Pass in certain venues at a later date.
Pathway through the summer
During the summer, more activities take place outside, which is within an environment less likely to pass on infection. On 16 August, the rules on self-isolating following close contact will change for people who are fully vaccinated, and for under 18s. If you are not fully vaccinated or test positive, you still need to isolate, which will bring an end to school bubbles needing to isolate following the infection of a classmate.
In September, the Government will undertake a review to assess the country’s preparedness for autumn and winter, which will consider whether to continue or strengthen public and business guidance as the UK approach’s the winter, including on face coverings and test, trace and isolate, and will review the remaining regulations.