Changes to COVID-19 restrictions as Step 4 confirmed to go ahead on 19 July
The Government has confirmed that step 4 of their roadmap will commence from 19 July
Following the Prime Minister's confirmation of the move to Step 4 of the Government's roadmap on 19 July, Wiltshire Council is asking people to continue to be cautious and still do what they can to keep each other safe.
From Monday 19 July, the Government has confirmed that all legal limits on social contact will be removed. However, people should continue to reduce the risk of transmission and follow the recommended safety measures.
Businesses such as nightclubs will be allowed to reopen their doors to the public, and larger events, performances and life events including weddings will be able to take place without any limits.
Schools are entitled to end their bubble system from 19 July should they choose to. However, some local schools may choose to continue with their current arrangements until the end of term, so parents and carers should follow their school's guidance.
From 19 July, arrivals , who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days), or are on a formally approved UK vaccine clinical trial, returning to England from amber list countries will no longer need to quarantine - passengers will need to provide proof of their vaccination status to carriers in advance of travel. Children under the age of 18 are to be exempt from quarantine on returning to England from amber countries. People are urged to check the latest guidance and restrictions before planning to travel to another country.
From 19 July, people are expected and recommended to continue to wear face coverings in indoor enclosed spaces, such as public transport, unless they are exempt.
From 16 August, anyone in England who has had both their COVID-19 jabs will no longer have to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive. When they are notified about their contact, NHS Test and Trace will ask if they are fully vaccinated. If so, they will be advised to take one PCR test as soon as possible to make sure they haven't been infected. As long as that test is negative, and they don't develop symptoms, they won't need to take further PCR tests. From 16 August children will also no longer have to self-isolate if a close contact tests positive. Instead they will be advised whether they need to be tested.
Kate Blackburn, Wiltshire's Director of Public Health, said:
This will be the news many people have been waiting for, after 16 months of living our lives in a very different and restricted way.
Living a more normal life will be really positive for the wellbeing of so many. However, we all need to remember that COVID-19 is still here and will remain part of our lives, and we all have a responsibility to continue do everything we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, including receiving the vaccine when offered and following the guidance that's in place.
There are still people yet to get their first or second jab so we must remain cautious. I'd encourage everyone to continue to wear facemasks in enclosed and crowded spaces, as that helps keep people safe, particularly those who are not double vaccinated.
It's clear that the successful vaccination programme is mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and is allowing us to live more of a normal and enjoyable life. However, I'd urge that people still have COVID-19 in their minds, and they should make their own individual informed judgements on how to continue to live their lives during the pandemic based on their own circumstances. As the Government have said, we should still be limiting the amount of contact we have with those we don't live with and this next step should be gradual.
The pandemic has highlighted how simple habits such as good hand hygiene and letting fresh air in when there's a gathering inside can help keep us healthy, so we hope that going forward people continue with those types of behaviours.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said;
Confirmation of the final step of the roadmap is particularly great news for those businesses and industries who have been unable to operate or have been affected during the pandemic.
The communities of Wiltshire have responded so positively at a time of great difficulty and we'll continue to work with them and do what we can to help the county get back on its feet.
The Government has confirmed that:
- You will not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with. There will also be no limits on the number of people you can meet.
- However, in order to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, you should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
- Meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces.
- It will no longer be instructing people to work from home if they can. However, the Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer.
- The requirement to wear face coverings in law will be lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
- There will no longer be limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing. You should follow guidance for weddings and funerals to reduce risk and protect yourself and others.
- There will no longer be restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship.
The council will be hosting a public COVID-19 update webinar at 6pm on Thursday 15 July to talk people through the latest COVID-19 information and take residents' questions. The webinar will be hosted on Microsoft Teams, and more information and a joining link can be found at Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Public Update
More information and travel advice can be found at Government's travel advice webpage
Full details of the Government's step 4 confirmation can be found at How to stay safe and help prevent the spread from 19 July