Proceeding to Step 2 of the Roadmap out of lockdown

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just confirmed at a press conference that we will proceed to Step 2 of the Roadmap out of lockdown on 12 April 2021

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-at-coronavirus-press-conference-5-april-2021 .  

This means that from 12 April:

  • Non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • Personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • Outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • Most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • Some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • Indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • All childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • Self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • You should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
  • Care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)

You can find more information here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do

The Government has also published the Terms of Reference and details of the Reviews taking place.The four reviews are designed to provide further clarity on how we can restore our freedoms and unlock our economy and society, particularly from step 4. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021-reviews-terms-of-reference/roadmap-reviews-update

COVID-Status Certification Review

  • The Government committed to explore whether and how COVID-status certification might be used to reopen our economy, reduce restrictions on social contact and improve safety. COVID-status certification aims to provide reassurance that an individual is at reduced risk of transmission.
  • Certification has already become a feature of international travel, with the UK and many other countries requiring evidence of a negative test pre-departure as part of their border regimes. The Government expects such requirements to continue and is exploring ways of making certification of testing more digital and integrated – as well as considering the implications of vaccines and what certification may be required around them.
  • It is possible that COVID-status certification could also play a role in reducing social distancing requirements in other settings which people tend to visit more frequently, for example in hospitality settings. However, the Government recognises this has significant implications for businesses and their customers, so this will be further considered in consultation with industry, as part of the review of social distancing rules and taking into account the equalities and other impacts. For now, businesses should continue to plan to reopen in a way that follows the latest COVID-Secure guidance, and certification will not be required for reopening as part of step 2 or step 3.
  • The Government will present interim findings from the COVID-Status Certification Review to Parliament later this month.

Global Travel Taskforce

  • The Government wants to see a return to non-essential international travel as soon as possible, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern. The Government hopes people will be able to travel to and from the UK to take a summer holiday this year, but it is still too soon to know what is possible.
  • The roadmap said that any return to international travel without a reasonable excuse, for example for holidays, would be no earlier than 17 May. Given the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries, we are not yet in a position to confirm that non-essential international travel can resume from that point. Taking into account the latest situation with variants and the evidence about the efficacy of vaccines against them, we will confirm in advance whether non-essential international travel can resume on 17 May, or whether we will need to wait longer before lifting the outbound travel restriction.
  • When non-essential international travel does return it will do so with a risk-based “traffic light” system. This will add to our current system a new green category with no isolation requirement on return to the UK – although pre-departure and post-arrival tests would still be needed.
  • It is too early to say which countries will be on the green list when non-essential international travel resumes. These decisions will be driven by the data and evidence nearer the time, which we cannot predict now.
  • For the moment, the Government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer.

Events Research Programme

  • The Government will use the Events Research Programme, overseen by an industry-led steering group and working closely with national and local public health authorities, to explore different approaches to social distancing, ventilation, test-on-entry protocols and COVID-status certification. 
  • The Events Research Programme will carry out pilots in a series of venues to gather evidence on the transmission risks associated with different settings, and potential approaches to managing and mitigating transmission risks. The pilots will use the domestic COVID-status certification standards.
  • Early pilots will focus on demonstrating COVID-status through testing alone, while later pilots will seek to incorporate data on vaccination and acquired immunity.
  • The Events Research Programme will examine the extent to which COVID-status certification would help towards the return of crowds to mass events and closed settings, from football matches to theatre performances, and the reopening of nightclubs.
  • The Events Research Programme’s first phase of pilots includes:
    • Hot Water Comedy Club, Liverpool (16 April)
    • FA Cup Semi Final, Wembley Stadium (18 April)
    • World Snooker Championship, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (17 April – 3 May)
    • Luna Cinema, Liverpool (23-25 April)
    • Mass participation run, Hatfield House, Hatfield (24-25 April)
    • Carabao Cup Final, Wembley Stadium (25 April)
    • ACC Business Event, Liverpool (28 April)
    • Circus Nightclub, Liverpool (30 April – 1 May)
    • FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium (15 May)

Social Distancing Review

·         The Social Distancing Review is exploring whether existing rules, designed to limit virus transmission, could be relaxed in different settings. This work is developing the safest approach to allow closer social contact between friends and family, safely enable greater capacity on transport, and reduce distance requirements within venues and workplaces.

·         The review is looking at key baseline measures, including how and when to safely lift or amend the 1m+ rule and related COVID-secure measures, as well as guidance on working from home.

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