New Government Measures for Social Gatherings

  • Social gatherings of more than six people in England will not be allowed in law from Monday 14 September
  • The new rule will apply both indoors and outdoors, and to all ages.
  • Pubs, restaurants, shops and other venues will remain open, but people can only attend in groups of up to six. Venues should also allow for social distancing between groups.
  • Similarly, places of worship may remain open but with a limit of six people attending per group.

Some gatherings of more than six people will be allowed, for example:

  • If your household or support bubble is larger than six
  • Where gatherings are for work or education purposes
  • Weddings and funerals
  • Team sports organised in a way limiting the spread of coronavirus

If you live in a household of more than six you can gather in public or private. However, you will not be able to join with anyone from outside of your household.

Police will issue fines to those ignoring these measures £100 – doubling with each offence to a maximum of £3,200

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), ask for a test to check if you have the virus.

Government Guidance on the use of Face Coverings from July 24th

From 24 July, wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory.

The latest rules for shops will be enforced by the police, with anyone disregarding them at risk of a fine of up to £100. This will be reduced to £50 if the fine is paid within 14 days.

A face covering should:

  • cover your nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably
  • fit comfortably but securely against the side of the face
  • be secured to the head with ties or ear loops
  • be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton
  • ideally include at least two layers of fabric (the World Health Organisation recommends three depending on the fabric used)
  • unless disposable, it should be able to be washed with other items of laundry according to fabric washing instructions and dried without causing the face covering to be damaged

You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:

  • young children under the age of 11
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
  • to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • to eat or drink, but only if you need to
  • to take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:

  • If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification
  • If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication

Click here for instructions on how to make a cloth face covering.

Face coverings do not replace social distancing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, and/or high temperature, and/or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste – anosmia), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), ask for a test to check if you have the virus.

If the test is positive you’ll be contacted by text, email or phone and asked to log on to the NHS Test and Trace website.

Government Guidance on 4th July Lockdown Changes

The UK Government is continuing to ease restrictions in a manner that is safe, cautious and consistent with our plan.

This means, from 4 July:

  • you can meet in groups of up to two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) in any location – public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household – you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case – even inside someone’s home – that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers
  • when you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
  • those who have been able to form a support bubble (i.e. those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in the bubble, but you should not change who you have formed a support bubble with
  • additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites can open – but we will continue to keep closed certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher
  • other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms can open
  • you can stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household (where you need to keep social distancing)
  • it is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces), or in a public outdoors space, unless planned by an organisation in compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance

People will be trusted to continue acting responsibly by following this and related guidance, subject to an upper legal limit on gatherings (as described above).

It is essential that everyone in the country goes about their lives in a manner which reduces the risk of transmission, whether they are at work, leisure, or using public services. When you leave your home, you should follow the guidelines on staying safe outside your home.

You should continue to avoid close contact and remain socially distant from anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble – even inside other people’s homes.

You should wash your hands regularly. This will help to protect you and anyone you come into contact with and is critical to keeping everyone safe.

Never visit a clinically vulnerable person if you think you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

Never visit a clinically vulnerable person if you have been advised to isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have been in contact with a case.

Meeting Family & Friends

To avoid risks of transmission and stay as safe as possible, you should always maintain social distancing with people you do not live with – indoors and outdoors. You should only have close social contact with others if you are in a support bubble with them. You should:

  • only socialise indoors with members of up to two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub
  • only socialise outdoors in a group of up to six people from different households or in larger groups if everyone is exclusively from one or two households
  • only visit businesses and venues in groups of up to two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) or with a group of six people from different households if outdoors
  • not interact with anyone outside the group you are attending these places with even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
  • try to limit the number of people you see, especially over short periods of time, to keep you and them safe, and save lives – the more people you have interactions with, the more chances we give the virus to spread
  • not hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing
  • only stay overnight away from your home in groups of up to two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household)
  • when asked, provide your contact details to a business so that you can be contacted as needed by the NHS Test and Trace programme

Visiting Public Places

  • You can spend time outdoors, including for exercise, as often as you wish.
  • If you can, you should avoid using public transport, and aim to walk, cycle, or drive instead.
  • It is not possible to social distance during car journeys and transmission of coronavirus can definitely occur in this context. So avoid travelling with someone from outside your household or, your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing.
  • If you need to use public transport to complete your journey you should follow the guidelines in place, and must wear a face covering.

Clinically Vulnerable People

If you have any of the following health conditions, you may be clinically vulnerable, meaning you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. Although you can meet people outdoors and, from 4 July, indoors, you should be especially careful and be diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene.

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
  • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
  • diabetes
  • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • pregnant women

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions – and who have been advised to ‘shield’. We are relaxing advice to those shielding in two stages – as long as the incidence rate in the community remains low:

From 6 July:

  • those shielding can spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people (including those outside of their household). Extra care should be taken to minimise contact with others by maintaining social distancing. This can be in a public outdoor space, or in a private garden or uncovered yard or terrace
  • those shielding no longer need to observe social distancing with other members of their household
  • those who are shielding will be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household, as long as one of the households in the bubble is a single adult household (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18). All those in a support bubble can spend time together inside each others’ homes, including overnight, without needing to maintain social distancing. This follows the same rules on support bubbles that apply to the wider population now.

 

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), ask for a test to check if you have the virus.

If the test is positive you’ll be contacted by text, email or phone and asked to log on to the NHS Test and Trace website.

 

Government Changes to Lockdown Regulations From June 13


The UK has been in lockdown since March 23, but a number of measures are being lifted throughout June.

At the the start of the month, primary schools for some year groups were reopened, and the public were told that they could meet up to five people from another household outside or in gardens, subject to social distancing rules. Car showrooms and outdoor markets were allowed to reopen.

On Monday June 8, some dentists across the UK were opened, and the two-week quarantine period for travellers returning from overseas was implemented.

On Saturday June 13, people can set up support bubbles.

A bubble is defined as a group of people with whom you have close physical contact.

Single adults living alone – or single parents whose children are under 18 – can form a support bubble with one other household. The second household can be of any size.

Nobody who is shielding should join a bubble.

Support bubbles must be “exclusive”. Once in one, you can’t switch and start another with a different household. People in each bubble can visit each other’s homes and go inside. They won’t have to stay 2m (6ft) apart and can even stay overnight.

Anyone in the bubble contacted as part of England’s test and trace programme must stay at home. If they develop coronavirus symptoms, everyone in the bubble must self-isolate.

From Monday June 15 more changes will be made to the lockdown regulations in England:

  • New guidelines on when wearing a face covering is compulsory come into force

From June 15, anyone using public transport in England will be required to wear a face covering.

All hospital visitors and outpatients will also need to wear face coverings, and hospital staff must use surgical masks.

There will be exemptions to the rules for very young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties.

Face coverings are not the same as the face masks worn by hospital staff.

Coverings can be made from scarves, bandanas or other fabric items, so long as they cover the mouth and nose.

Face coverings should also be washed with detergent after every use.

The government advises that face coverings should be worn in any situation where social distancing can not be maintained.

Several airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair have also introduced a requirement for passengers to wear face coverings.

Click here for instructions on how to wear and make a cloth face covering.

  • Non-essential shops can reopen

Non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen from Monday if they comply with social distancing rules.

Non-essential retail shops which can open from Monday include (but are not limited to):

    • Clothes shops
    • Shoe shops
    • Toy shops
    • Furniture shops
    • Bookshops
    • Electronics
    • Tailors
    • Auction houses
    • Photography studios
    • Indoor markets
  • Secondary schools can start reopening

Secondary schools and colleges in England are being asked to start providing face-to-face support to Year 10 and 12 pupils, as well as 16 to 19-year-old students who are due to take key exams next year, from June 15.

However, only a quarter of pupils will be able to attend at any one time in order to limit the risk of transmission.

  • Places of worship can open for private prayer

Churches and other places of worship are set to open for private prayer from June 15.

Individuals will be able to ‘reflect and pray’ while adhering to social-distancing rules – but worship groups, weddings and other services will still not be permitted.

Communal prayer will not be permitted until July 4 at the earliest, the government has said.

  • Zoos, safari parks and drive-in cinemas can reopen

Zoos and other outdoors attractions can open their doors from June 15 in the latest lockdown easing.

Attractions will not be allowed to reopen indoor exhibitions, such as reptile houses, and must ensure amenities including cafes are takeaway only.

They will also be required to introduce social distancing measures such as strict limited capacity, one-way routes and increased hand-washing facilities.

Other outdoor attractions that will be able to open their doors under the new guidelines include ones where visitors remain in their cars, for example safari parks and outdoor cinemas.


NHS TEST & TRACE: 

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus.

You can ask for a test:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms

Please help the NHS by only asking for tests for people who have coronavirus symptoms now.

You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms. Do not wait. Ask for the test as soon as you have symptoms.

The test usually involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.

You can do the swab yourself (if you are aged 12 or over) or someone can do it for you. Children aged 11 or under cannot do the swab themselves. Their parent or guardian will have to swab test them.

There is very high demand for tests at the moment.

People in hospital and essential workers, including NHS and social care staff, are getting priority.

Even if you are successful in requesting a test, we cannot guarantee you will get one. It depends on how many tests are available each day in different parts of the country.

If the test is positive you’ll be contacted by text, email or phone and asked to log on to the NHS Test and Trace website.

There you will be asked for personal information including:

  • Name, date of birth and postcode
  • Who you live with
  • Places you visited recently
  • Names and contact details of people you have been in close contact with in the 48 hours before your symptoms started

Close contacts are:

  • people you spend 15 minutes or more with at a distance of less than 2m
  • people you have direct contact with – such as sexual partners, household members or people with whom you have had face-to-face conversations at a distance of less than 1m

The contact must have taken place between two days before and up to seven days after symptoms appeared.

No-one contacted as a result of you testing positive for coronavirus will be told your identity. A parent or guardian will need to give permission for a call with under-18s to continue.

Detailed Government Advice – Coronavirus

Friends and family in public spaces
The government has updated its advice on outdoor activity, after evidence showed the “risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside”.

  • From Wednesday (May 13) “people may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish,” the document says, as opposed to just for one hour, as was previously the rule. For example, this includes angling and tennis.
  • People can only exercise with up to one person from outside their household – this means people should not play team sports, except with members of your own household.
  • Anyone meeting with someone outside their household should stay two metres away from them.
  • People are still not able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.
  • People may also “drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance“, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there.
  • When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and “do not travel to different parts of the UK“.

The Workplace
In his address, the Prime Minister said people should be “actively encouraged” to return to work from Wednesday, if they are unable to work from home.

However, he said people should only return to work where social distancing can be observed and at firms which are “Covid-secure“.

  • For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible.
  • The government says this is to protect those who must physically attend work, by “minimising the risk of overcrowding on transport and in public places“.
  • Sectors encouraged to reopen include: Food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories.
  • Sectors that must remain closed: Hospitality and non-essential retail.
  • Nannies and childminders can also return to work, if safe to do so, to allow more parents to return to work.
  • Anyone with symptoms should not return to work, and should instead self-isolate, as should members of their household.

Schools/Education
“There is a large social benefit” for vulnerable children in attending school. As such, the government wants schools to “urge more children who would benefit from attending in person, to do so”.

  • Paid childcare is allowed to resume, including nannies and childminders, as long as it’s safe to do so.

The government says this should help working parents return to work.

Travel

  • When travelling, the government says “everybody (including critical workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible”.
  • It is encouraging people to only travel by foot, bicycle, or by car, however it acknowledges public transport is essential for some people in getting to work.

Face coverings

  • As people return to work, the government wants people to “wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible“.
  • It says while on public transport or in supermarkets, face coverings “can help reduce the risk of transmission”.
  • Face-coverings are not intended to help the wearer, but to protect against transmission of the disease to others.
  • The government says people should not wear clinical face masks, which are intended for health care professionals, but “homemade” face coverings, which are also beneficial.

Click here for instructions on how to wear and make a cloth face covering.