Step Four Confirmed for 19th July 2021
In an address to the Country this evening the Prime Minister confirmed that step four in the government’s road map will be taken on 19th July.
As previously reported the current social distancing restrictions will fall away when the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 expire on 18th July. This sunset clause is baked into the regulations themselves, as will the Local Authorities powers to issue direction letters as the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 also expire.
- All remaining limits on social contact (currently 6 people or 2 households indoors, or 30 people outdoors) will be removed and there will be no more restrictions on how many people can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors.
- All settings will be able to open, including nightclubs. Large events, such as music concerts and sporting events can resume without any limits on attendance or social distancing requirements.
- All restrictions on life events such as weddings, funerals, bar/bat mitzvahs and baptisms will be removed, including the remaining restrictions on the number of attendees. There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing.
- Businesses will be encouraged to display QR codes for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, to support NHS Test and Trace, although it will no longer be a legal requirement.
- Social distancing rules (2 metres or 1 metre with additional mitigations) will be lifted.
- The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, published guidance will continue to advise that wearing a face covering will reduce your risk and the risk to others, where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
The Prime Minster confirmed that the regulations will fall away along with the key policy of “working at home, where possible”.
Mr. Johnson went on to stress that the pandemic was not over but along with Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty that justified that this was the correct time to take this step.
COVID-status certification will not be required in law as a condition of entry for visitors to any setting. In respect of nightclubs and other large events, the Prime Minister stated that they could make use of the NHS’s Covid Pass to verify customers status. Organisations are already able to ask visitors for proof of COVID-status, as long as they meet existing legal obligations including under equality law. Through the NHS App persons can access their ‘Covid Pass’ to demonstrate their COVID-status. This can be achieved by completion of a full vaccine course, a recent negative test, or proof of natural immunity.
Updated government guidance reflecting the next step has been published and can be found here.
We shall keep you updated.