Coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown measures are to be relaxed further from 1 August in England under new plans announced by prime minister Boris Johnson.
Here is what will change and what measures will remain in place to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
Working from home
Johnson said he would broadly lift the work-from-home guidance which has been in place for most people in the UK during lockdown.
However he said it was up to individual employers, rather than the government or workers, to decide whether their staff should return to the office from 1 August.
Employers “should be encouraging” workers to return, so long as their workplace has introduced coronavirus safety measures, Johnson said.
The government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance, said on 16 July there was no need to change the work-from-home, if you can, advice.
Can I use public transport for non-essential journeys?
Advice to avoid using public transport has been lifted in England as of 17 July, meaning people can make non-essential journeys on buses and trains again.
However, people are being told to wear face coverings while travelling, to avoid peak times and adhere to social distancing measures.
Johnson said alternative means of travel should also be used “where possible”.
Theatres and entertainment
From 1 August, audiences will be able to return to indoor theatres and music venues in England, so long as they adhere to social distancing.
Leisure centres, bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos will also be allowed to reopen from the same date.
Nightclubs, however, will remain closed.
Are sports venues going to reopen?
Johnson said the government will pilot larger gathering in sports venues ahead of a wider reopening planned for the autumn.
Pilots to reopen sports stadiums will include the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield from 31 July and the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival from 1 August.
From next month, wedding receptions for up to 30 people will be allowed to resume, so long as measures are in place to reduce Covid-19 transmission.
Beauticians will also be allowed to reopen from 1 August.
What about local lockdowns?
From 18 July, local councils in England will have new powers to prevent the spread of coronavirus in their areas.
Local authorities will be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces and cancel events, Johnson said.
New draft regulations will be published next week on how central government can also intervene by introducing local stay-at-home orders and “transport systems” in those areas, Johnson added.
The new testing target
The PM committed to a new target of reaching the capacity for 500,000 coronavirus tests per day by November in order to distinguish between flu and Covid-19 symptoms.
He added that the “biggest-ever flu vaccination programme” will also be rolled this year.
It comes as a report by Vallance warned there could be 120,000 hospital deaths in a “reasonable worst-case scenario”.
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop