The Prime Minister has announced that the final stage of the roadmap to end lockdown restrictions will begin on Monday 19th July.
Expected to be confirmed on 12th July, step 4 of the roadmap will remove legal restrictions on social contact and see remaining closed businesses re-open. The Government will instead enable people and businesses to make informed decisions about how to manage the risk to themselves and others.
This means that at Step 4:
• All remaining limits on social contact 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.
• The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings.
• Social distancing rules will be lifted.
• Businesses will be encouraged to display QR codes for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, although it will no longer be a legal requirement.
• It is no longer necessary for the Government to instruct people to work from home and employers can start to plan a return to workplaces.
The full document also includes requirements relating to self-isolation and ventilation: Summer Roadmap (Step 4)
Geoff Mason, policy manager at the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said:
“The removal of restrictions is something that the business community will broadly welcome. After more than a year of off and on closures and restrictions, getting back to some kind of normal is essential for the recovery of many businesses.
“Having operated with restrictions for so long, businesses will need guidance from the Government on their responsibilities and liabilities as part of any further easing. Clarity will also be needed on the next steps for testing, isolation, track and release, as well as how this will be applied and enforced.
“Whether confidence will return quickly as restrictions are removed, or whether people not wearing masks in shops and on public transport will reduce confidence, is yet to be tested. We will only find out once it happens.
“After so much uncertainty over the past year, we need to make sure that when the decision is made to remove restrictions that it is done when no backward step will be needed in the future. Businesses need to be able to focus on their recovery and rebuilding with the knowledge that restrictions won’t be re-imposed.”
Mark Whittle, manager of the Preston City Centre Business Improvement District said:
“If existing rules such as mask wearing, social distancing and the rule of six are removed this is likely to encourage visitors to our town centres and for increased numbers using retail and hospitality venues. The increase in revenue is essential for these businesses, with many still at risk of closure.
“However, staff must be made to feel safe. With retention in these sectors being very difficult at the moment, existing workers must be confident they can safely remain in these jobs. For our high streets to recover it is crucial that current workers remain and recruitment problems ease.”