Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced the third step in the relaxation of measures, to take effect from 4th July.
Four weeks ago, an average of 1 in 400 people in the community in England had COVID-19; in the first half of June, this figure was 1 in 1,700.
We continue to meet the 5 test and the Chief Medical Officers for all four home nations have downgraded the UK’s COVID Alert Level from four to three, meaning that we no longer face a virus spreading exponentially, though it remains in general circulation.
The administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland hold responsibility for their own lockdown restrictions and they will respond to the united view of the Chief Medical Officers at their own pace.
2 Metre Guidance
The PM asked experts to conduct a review of social distancing guidance. In line with the review’s findings, and given the significant fall in the prevalence of the virus, the PM has announced that the 2 metre social distancing rule in England, from 4 July.
Where is it possible to keep 2 metres apart people should.
Where it is not, people will be advised to keep a social distance of “1 metre plus”, meaning they should remain 1 metre apart, while taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission.
Guidance will be published on gov.uk on how businesses can reduce the risk by taking certain steps to protect workers and customers.
The experts cannot give a precise assessment of how much the risk is reduced, they judge these mitigations would make “1 metre plus” broadly equivalent to the risk at 2 metres if fully implemented.
The PM also announced that England will move to step three of the plan from 4th July.
It is important to remember that the more that is opened up, the more vigilant everyone will need to be.
The degree of social contact will be increased, allowing two households to be able to meet in any setting, indoor or outdoor. This is in addition to the existing limit on outdoor gatherings of 6 people from different households.
The PM has allowed the reopening of economically-vital activity, including pubs and restaurants. This will be subject to strict compliance with COVID-19 Secure Guidance. All hospitality indoors will be seated, and our guidance will encourage minimal contact between staff and customers. Businesses should help NHS Test and Trace respond to any local outbreaks by collecting contact details from customers, as happens in other countries. Hairdressers can also reopen, with appropriate precautions in place.
Provided that no more than two households stay together, the PM has announced a relaxation on restrictions on overnight stays, including in hotels, B&Bs as well as campsites provided shared facilities are kept clean. Most leisure facilities and tourist attractions will reopen if they can do so safely, including outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades.
Collective worship will resume, libraries and community centres can reopen and public services will resume more activity. These relaxations will be subject to some ongoing restrictions to manage risk: singing will not yet be able to resume and public services will operate at reduced capacity.
Wrap-around care for school age children and formal childcare will restart over the summer. Primary and secondary education will recommence in September with full attendance.
Some activities will continue to be prohibited. Close proximity venues- including pools, gyms, nightclubs, soft play areas and close contact retail for treatments- will remain shut, until they can open in a COVID-19 Secure way. The Business Secretary and Culture Secretary will work with industry taskforces within these sectors to allow them to do so as soon as possible.