On 19th July, England will formally emerge from lockdown as the final social restrictions are removed. Health Secretary Sajid Javid called the move to the fourth and final stage of the government’s roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions a “major milestone.”
Javid also cautioned there could be as many as 100,000 COVID-19 cases later this summer but did not “believe that infection rates will put unsustainable pressure on the [National Health Service].” While prime minister Boris Johnson admitted that COVID-19 cases are rising “significantly,” he believes it is safer to unlock now during the school holidays than in September when cold weather and flu season approach.
“We will stick to our plan to lift legal restrictions and to lift social distancing, but we expect and recommend that people wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with those you don’t normally meet, such as on public transport,” Johnson said.
The following restrictions will be lifted:
- Quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated UK residents – Fully vaccinated UK residents will no longer need to quarantine after returning home from places on the amber list.
- Face coverings – While face masks will no longer be compulsory, it is still recommended by the government to wear face coverings while in crowded areas, such as public transport.
- Social distancing rules – Nightclubs and other indoor venues will be allowed to reopen as social distancing restrictions are lifted. Bigger events, such as festivals, can also take place once again. Guidance is still in place for those who are required to self-isolate after contracting COVID-19.
- Work-from-home guidance – Employees will no longer be told to work from home if possible, but rather, it is now up to the discretion of businesses to decide whether their workforce will return to the office. The government has not yet encouraged a return to office working.
- Gathering limits – Throughout the pandemic, indoor restaurants, pubs and Airbnb listings were limited to six people. After 19th July, that number will be unlimited.
Officials believe that the arrival of “Freedom Day” is only possible due to the success of the vaccine rollout, and they continue to encourage individuals to get their jab and exercise caution as restrictions lift.
For more information on the latest COVID-19 guidance, click here.