FROM face masks and social distancing to nightclubs and the Rule of Six, the Covid rules are set to change on July 19.
The UK is said to be on track to lift all current restrictions for Freedom Day as ministers are encouraged by “very, very” low death numbers and a slowdown in infections.
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If the trends continue, social distancing and the Rule of Six inside will be ditched, along with limits on mass gatherings outside, The Times reports.
A senior Government source told the newspaper that ministers want to “get as close to normal as possible” on July 19.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously hoped to lift all the Covid restrictions on June 21.
But he was forced to push back that date to July 19 after the UK saw a spike in cases which has been attributed to the spread of the Delta variant, originating in India.
Let’s take a look at all the rules that could change on July 19.
The wearing of face masks is no longer expected to be compulsory in certain spaces, and laws will be replaced with advice for wearing them.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs Freedom Day would not be delayed beyond July 19 – and face mask laws for public transport would be scrapped after that.
While Hancock made the Government’s position clear about the wearing of masks on public transport, the situation about wearing them in shops and other public places is unclear.
The Sun previously learned that the National Economy Recovery Taskforce have discussed a “maximalist” approach to lifting “non-pharmaceutical interventions” like masks.
Instructions to stay two metres away from strangers are also expected to be scrapped next month, if the data continues to look good.
The ditching of the “one metre plus” rule is expected to allow restaurants, theatres and nightclubs to properly fling their doors back open to customers.
The Social Distancing Review has been working on new advice to help people make “informed personal choices”.
Social distancing has been vital during the height of the pandemic as coronavirus spreads mainly when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks – sending small droplets into the air.
So the further apart people are, the lower the risk of the infection spreading.
Currently, people in England can use “personal judgement” if you want to hug close friends and family you don’t live with – but they should remain cautious.
But all curbs on social contact are set to be ditched on July 19 after more than a year of restrictions.
Rule of Six
The Prime Minister is said to be optimistic that all remaining restrictions can be lifted on July 19, meaning limits on socialising will be ditched.
It means the Rule of Six will be scrapped for gatherings.
A series of pilot events have been held to provide data on how gatherings can be permitted to safely reopen as restrictions ease.
Indoor dining is currently limited to six people, while up to 30 people can dine outside.
But all caps on socialising are set to be lifted on July 19, meaning friends and families should be able to gather inside or outside with no restrictions.
Working from home
Work from home guidance is expected to be ditched, leaving it up to employers and staff to decide the best way forward.
Brits started working from home in March last year when the pandemic took off.
In fact, one third of employees are still working from home – and 85 per cent of them want to keep it that way.
A study by the Office for National Statistics showed 37 per cent of workers had spent some time out of office – up from 27 per cent in the pre-Covid era of 2019.
But almost two-fifths expected most of their staff to return to the workplace within the next three months.
The return to the office is seen as being the least economically damaging option to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
Boris Johnson announced the delay of the return to the office in a Downing Street press conference on June 14 – but the work from home guidance is now expected to be ditched on July 19.
With all remaining restrictions expected to be ditched on July 19, it means nightclubs, along with dance halls and discotheques, are finally set to reopen.
The venues have been shut for more than a year now under restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
The full list of rules in place for when nightclubs are finally allowed to reopen next month hasn’t been confirmed.
But most businesses have been thinking ahead, putting in place a plan of action when restrictions lift.
Reduced capacity has also been floated as an idea to make clubs Covid safe – but many owners say they simply cannot survive with fewer customers.
Damien Fell, director and programmer at Brighton’s The Arch music venue, previously told The Sun: “To be frank though, any social distancing or reduction of capacity is going to hinder our ability to operate substantially, and make opening undoable.”
Dance floor fans may be subject to temperature checks before entry, and queuing outside venues would be spaced out with markings to maintain distancing.
Rapid testing, such as lateral flow tests or temperature checks, and vaccinations could also be part of the club experience when they reopen in a bid to prevent any outbreaks.