On July the 19th 2021, certain legal restrictions relating to coronavirus in England will no longer be enforceable by law. This doesn’t mean that you have to return to ‘normal life’ instantly if you do not want to, and the government are advising caution whilst coronavirus cases remain high.
In certain settings, you may be asked to adhere to restrictions, such as within hospitals. Health and care workers will continue to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) and NHS Trusts plan on keeping the current guidance on social distancing and PPE in order to protect both staff and patients.
What is changing?
After restrictions ease, these familiar restrictions will not be legally enforceable:
- Social distancing of two metres
- Wearing a mask (although Public Health recommend that you wear a mask in indoor public spaces)
- Indoor gatherings of more than 6 people from separate households
- Outdoor gatherings of more than 30 people
This means that:
- You will not be legally required to stay two metres apart from people you do not live with.
- There are no legal restrictions on large gatherings, whether indoor or outdoor. But the government are advising that you should limit close contact with those outside your household, meeting outdoors where possible.
- You will not be legally required to wear a mask in many settings, although some premises may request that you wear a mask when entering. The guidance states that mask wearing is encouraged in all public settings, but isn’t always mandatory.
- The government are no longer requesting that you should work from home where possible, but you should seek guidance from your employer about working arrangements.
- If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate immediately and arrange a PCR test, even if your symptoms are mild. You should self-isolate at home while you book the test and wait for the results, and must continue to self-isolate if you test positive. Your isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. This remains as part of the law after July 19th.
You can read the most up to date guidelines here.
The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)
Public Health recommend that the public continue to act in a careful and responsible manner as restrictions ease. The best way to protect yourself and others is to receive a coronavirus vaccine if you’re over 18 years of age – details on how to book your first dose can be found here.
If you’re feeling anxious about returning to normality, there is information from the NHS on how to cope with anxiety about lockdown lifting.