Covid rules: What's changing when restrictions end on Monday?

The majority of Covid-19 restrictions which we have lived with for so long are about to be abolished.

Saturday, 17th July 2021, 7:00 am
Face masks will no longer be complusory in shops from Monday, but Northumberland's director of public health wants us to keep wearing them.
Face masks will no longer be complusory in shops from Monday, but Northumberland's director of public health wants us to keep wearing them.

This long-awaited easing of measures has been dubbed “Freedom Day”, although the rhetoric around the date – July 19 – has become more circumspect due to a worrying surge in infections.

The Government’s top medic has also warned the number of people in hospital with coronavirus could reach “quite scary” levels within weeks, and hinted yesterday that new restrictions could be needed in just five weeks’ time.

He said: “I don’t think we should underestimate the fact that we could get into trouble again surprisingly fast.”

Northumberland's director of public health, Liz Morgan has also urged people to be cautious and not abandon all of the safety measures we have incorporated into our day-to-day lives over the last 16 months.

She said: “Our region has some of the highest rates of infections in England. That puts an even greater responsibility on us all to play our part in protecting our loved ones, our neighbours, and our colleagues.

“Measures such as wearing a face covering and keeping a safe distance from others have become second nature to many, but soon we will have a personal choice to make as to whether we continue them or not. These will be our own choices to make and only you can decide which steps you should take to keep yourself safe and be considerate of those around you, including those who may be vulnerable or anxious.

“We know that these measures are effective at helping to reduce transmission and we would ask you to continue to exercise these and all other precautions where appropriate, such as in shops and on public transport. These measures not only help to protect you, they reduce the risks for others around you as well.”

So, how exactly are the rules changing on Monday?

Social distancing

- There will be no limits on how many people can meet;

- The 1m-plus guidance will be removed (except in places such as hospitals and passport control when entering);

- Face coverings will no longer required by law, although the government still "expects and recommends" them in crowded and enclosed spaces;

- Some shops and transport operators will still require masks.

Events and gatherings

- Nightclubs can reopen;

- Pubs and restaurants will no longer be table-service only and customers will not have to scan a QR code on entry;

- There will be no limits on guests at weddings and funerals;

- No limits on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events;

- No restrictions on communal worship.

Travel

- The guidance recommending against travel to amber list countries will be removed;

- Under-18s and fully vaccinated adults will no longer have to self-isolate after visiting amber list countries.

Other changes

- The limits on visitors to care homes will be removed;

- From August 16, most Covid restrictions in schools – including "bubbles" – will end;

- From the same date, fully vaccinated adults will not need to self-isolate after contact with a positive case;

- Workers can return to offices, though charities have called for ministers to ensure clinically vulnerable people are not pressured to do so.