JUNE 21 is pencilled in as the final date when all Covid restrictions will be eased – but there are concerns it may be delayed.
Step 4 of the Government’s roadmap out of Covid lockdown will see an end to all limits on social contact in England on “Freedom Day”.
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Social distancing guidelines are still to keep 2 metres apart from people you do not live with[/caption]
Announcing his exit roadmap in February, Boris Johnson warned that for each step to be taken the Government would be guided by “data not dates”, with Covid cases, hospital admissions, the vaccination rollout and deaths taken into account.
The first three steps went ahead on schedule with schools reopening in March, pubs and restaurants serving outdoors and shops and hairdressers reopening from April 12, and Brits allowed to meet inside under the rule of six from May 17.
But with cases of the Indian – or Delta – variant rising, the Prime Minister is under pressure to delay lifting all restrictions from June 21.
Will social distancing end?
The PM wants to to scrap “all legal limits on social contact” at step 4 on June 21.
The move will mean an end all restrictions on the number of people allowed to meet up in England.
Officials are currently gathering data for a social distancing review ahead of the June 21 date.
It will decide “whether existing rules, designed to limit virus transmission, could be relaxed in different settings”.
Ministers and officials are working on contingency plans to move “Freedom Day” to next month, as well as retaining distancing and limits on fans in stadiums.
A decision is expected on June 14 on whether step 4 will go ahead as planned.
A group of young people social distancing[/caption]
Will we still need to wear masks?
Under current rules, Brits can be fined £200 for not wearing masks in indoor spaces, such as shops or public transport, unless exempt.
Asked in May if Brits would have to stop wearing masks Mr Johnson said he hoped life would be “much closer to normality” by summer.
Officials could tweak current rules and require Brits to continue wearing masks in some settings.
It’s been reported that officials are understood to be planning to keep rules surrounding face masks on public transport in place.
Experts have previously said face masks could become the “new norm”, with Professor Neil Ferguson claiming they may be around until next year due to new Covid variants.
Dominic Raab also hinted last month that face masks and social distancing could remain in place until after lockdown lifts.
Boris Johnson is examining if faces masks should stay in place from June 21[/caption]
How about working from home?
The Government’s working from home guidance came into effect in March last year.
Under the advice, “everyone who can work from home must do so” with millions of Brits now using their living rooms as workplaces.
But with the rise of the Indian variant cases causing concern, it’s been reported an end to home working may be delayed beyond June 21.
A Treasury source told The Telegraph: “Obviously working from home does have some consequences, but there’s no difference between now and two weeks’ time because the economic support will still be in place.
“There’s not that imperative to change the advice.”
Asked about the Telegraph report, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “There are options that are clearly available to the government.”
What about Covid passports?
A plan on using ‘Covid passports’ to allow Brits to enter a venue or event is set to be unveiled by Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove.
Any certification scheme – possibly using the NHS app – is likely to show a person’s vaccine or test status.
Gigs, theatre, nightclubs and ticket sports matches would be among the events likely to be included in any scheme, but not pubs.
The government’s roadmap plan says the certificates could “play a role in reopening our economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety”.
Mr Gove has said he “hopes” to give an update on the plan after the Commons recess ends tomorrow.
But plans to make Covid passports a legal requirement for large events, are set to be scrapped, The Daily Telegraph reported last month.
There has been concern voiced by Tory MPs, as well as opposition lawmakers and civil rights groups.
The Government is probing if Covid passports could be brought in to use at ticketed events like sports matches or gigs[/caption]
Will the one-metre plus rule stay?
The one-metre plus rule was introduced last June to allow Brits to meet as long as other measures were also followed, although current Government advice says to stay two metres apart from people you don’t live with if you can.
Pubs and restaurants must follow the ‘one metre plus’ distancing rule for their customers, seats and tables.
It means the number of customers they can hold has been limited and has had a massive impact on business.
If the rule was abolished, punters could order drinks at the bar.
The one-metre-plus rule is also an obstacle to the return of full crowds at sports matches, or outdoor events like music festivals.
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Speaking at the start of last month, the Prime Minister said there was a “good chance” the one-metre plus social distancing rule would be scrapped in England on June 21.
But the rise of cases in the Indian – Delta – variant has left a question mark over the move going ahead this month.
The PM’s official spokesman said: “So we will have to wait until we have more clinical data before we can make that judgement.”
The one-metre plus rule could be scrapped on June 21[/caption]