The majority of Covid-19 restrictions are set to be lifted tomorrow (19th July) when England reaches Step 4 of the lockdown road-map.
From tomorrow, a number of changes will occur including facemask rules. The changes are outlined below:-
- Rules over mandatory wearing of face masks will be eased in most settings. People will be urged to ‘exercise their personal responsibility’. In the last few days, many companies have declared that they will continue to ask those who can wear a mask to do so.
- Businesses which were not previously allowed to open can now reopen, including nightclubs. Festivals and gigs are allowed to take place.
- Sporting stadiums are allowed to reopen and welcome fans at full capacity.
- The ‘One Metre Plus’ rule has been lifted except at airports and for those people who are self-isolating.
- There will be no limits on how many people you can mix with, indoors or outdoors.
The changes have been met with a mixed response – with some people supporting the changes and others opposed – believing it is still too soon. NHS Kirklees confirmed on Friday that face masks are still required for GP practices (unless exempt). They also confirmed that the NHS Visitor Guidance will remain the same across all other health settings including hospitals, dentists, optometrists and pharmacies.
The decision follows guidance issued by NHS England and Improvement (on 15 July) that existing infection prevention and control and hospital visiting guidance must remain in place for all staff and visitors.
Elsewhere, West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin announced earlier this week that face masks are still compulsory in all West Yorkshire bus stations. She is also urging passengers to continue to wear their face masks whilst travelling on all public transport. Bus operators around the area are also encouraging their passengers to continue to wear face masks, with both First West Yorkshire and CT Plus Yorkshire ‘strongly recommending’ all customers wear a mask (unless exempt). Arriva Yorkshire has said ‘it is expected that passengers wear a face covering in busy spaces’.
Fully vaccinated adults will be able to skip quarantine upon returning from an amber list country, as will under 18s. This is with the exception of travelers from France.
Whilst there won’t be limitations on the number of people we can meet, a slow reintroduction to mixing with groups of people is advised, partly due to the high prevalence at the moment. When meeting indoors, it is important to keep rooms well ventilated.