Road Map To Easing Lockdown Three Restrictions
The Government announced on Monday 22 February 2021 their road map to easing lockdown restrictions. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have each developed their own road map to easing lockdown restrictions.
The Road Map To Easing Lockdown Restrictions
Updated guidance is released regularly and I will update this page as more details are announced.
This page was firstly published on 22 February 2021 and the last update was 30 July 2021.
The anticipated commencement date for each of the four steps are expected to be:
- Step One – part A went ahead on 8 March and part B on 29 March 2021
- Step Two – went ahead on 12 April 2021
- Step Three – went ahead on 17 May 2021
- Step Four – was due to go ahead on 21 June 2021 but was delayed until 19 July 2021
It will take 4 weeks for the data to reflect the relaxation in restrictions of each step and the Government want to give the country 1 weeks’ notice of all changes. Therefore, there is a gap of at least 5 weeks between each step.
There are six sets of data that the Government will consider before deciding whether England will move up or down a step. The six tests are:
- Number of cases,
- Number of cases in the over 60’s,
- Overall how much cases are increasing or decreasing,
- How much pressure there is on the NHS i.e. bed occupancy by Coronavirus patients,
- Number of people who have been vaccinated and that targets continue to be achieved, and
- Ricks are not increased by any new variants.
Data published by Public Health England regarding hospital bed occupancy can be found towards the end of this post.
If cases continue on a downward trend, there are no new variants, hospital admissions continue to reduce and the vaccine rollout meets its targets then the next step will be initiated. However, if any or all of the data move in the wrong direction then the introduction of the next step will be paused, or in extreme cases could mean we will revert to a previous step of the road map. So, the dates are for guidance only and are not guaranteed, they do however give you a date to aim and plan for.
A large focus is on the number of people who are vaccinated, and the UK continuing to hit its targets.
It is hoped that by 15 April 2021 almost, if not all, over-50s and younger vulnerable groups would have received at least their first dose of a vaccine and that all adults will have been offered a vaccine by the end of July 2021.
As more adults are vaccinated more restrictions will be able to be lifted.
Throughout the four steps of the road map, it is vital that those who are showing symptoms, however mild, or live in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house and must not go to work. Those people should self-isolate at home and the household quarantine rules continue to apply. As the Government increases the availability and speed of swab testing individuals will be able to confirm more quickly whether they have COVID-19 or not. This will reduce the period of self-isolation for those whose tests return a negative result.
Individuals who are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable will be asked to shield until at least the end of March 2021.
Although the Prime Minister was clear that the Country would not be returning to the Tier system, he did say that they may need to impose local restrictions to prevent the spread of new variants.
|8 March 2021 – completed||29 March 2021 – completed|
12 April 2021 – completed
The Government announced on Monday 5 April 2021 that the following restrictions will be lifted on Monday 12 April:
- Outdoor settings: the group of 6 or 2 household rule will continue to apply to outdoor settings.
- Indoor settings: will continue to be limited to people of the same household.
- Non-essential retail will reopen.
- Personal care including hair dressers and nail salons will reopen. People visiting these premises must go alone or with members of their own household.
- Public buildings including libraries, community centers and museums will reopen.
- Indoor leisure such as gyms, spas and swimming pools can reopen but people will only be able to go on their own or with their own household.
- Outdoor attractions such as zoos and theme parks will reopen.
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes will begin to open for outdoor service. There will be no curfew and no requirement to have a substantial meal.
- Campsites and holiday lets will reopen where indoor facilities are not shared with another household groups. Foreign holidays will still be banned.
- Driving lessons will resume.
- Weddings will increase from 6 to 15 people and funerals will remain at 30 people.
17 May 2021 – completed
The Government have now announced that the step three restrictions will be lifted as planned on Monday 17 May 2021.
This means the following restrictions will be lifted:
- Outdoor settings: restrictions on the group of 6 or 2 households will be increased to a group of 30.
- Indoor settings: families and friends will be able meet indoors subject to the rule of 6, larger groups are permitted so long as they are all from a maximum of 2 households.
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes will begin to open for indoor service.
- Cinemas, children’s play areas, hotels, hostels, B&Bs, theatres, concert halls and cinemas will reopen.
- Outdoor performances and sporting events will reopen; attendance will be capped at 4,000 or 50% of capacity whichever is the lowest. For the largest outdoor seated venues such as football stadiums like Wembley, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend – or they will be able to open at a quarter full, whichever is lower.
- Indoor performances and sporting events with a capacity of 1,000 or half full (whichever smaller) will be allowed.
- UK holidays will be permitted for groups of 6 or for a larger group where there are only 2 households in total.
- Up to 30 people will be able to attend life events such as weddings, christenings, bar mitzvahs and funerals.
19 July 2021 – completed
The Government announced on 12 July 2021 that the remaining restrictions would be lifted on 19 July 2021.
The remaining restrictions that will be lifted as move into step four are:
- Removal of instruction to work from home, but return to workplaces is expected to be gradual over the summer
- Limits on social groups will be lifted for both indoor and outdoor settings.
- Social distancing and face covering requirements will be removed but sensible precautions are encouraged
- Remaining sectors of the economy who are still closed, such as nightclubs, will be allowed to open.
- Restrictions on large performances and sporting events will be lifted.
- Restrictions on attendance at life events such as weddings, christenings, bar mitzvahs and funerals will be lifted.
The rules relating to social distancing (2m, or 1m with additional mitigation measures) will be lifted in the vast majority of settings, although they will remain in limited circumstances such as at ports of entry (to manage the risk of variants of concern being transmitted) and as necessary for infection prevention and control in health and care settings.
The legal requirement to wear a face covering will be lifted for all settings where it currently applies. However, the Government will publish guidance highlighting that face coverings do help to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission and advising people to wear them where they come into contact with people they don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
Test and Trace
The NHS Test and Trace programme will remain. The Government will continue to make Covid-19 tests available for individuals who have Covid-19 symptoms and the regular use of rapid tests for those without symptoms will continue to be encouraged.
Self-isolation following a positive test result, or as a close contact instructed by NHS Test and Trace, will remain a legal requirement. Although the Government has confirmed that it intends to remove the requirement to self-isolate as a close contact for individuals who are fully vaccinated or under 18. It is expected that this will come into effect in late summer and further details will be published in due course.
The approach marks a clear shift away from Government-imposed rules and restrictions towards individual and business choice and responsibility. This means you can choose to maintain your current workplace safety measures, including any social distancing and the wearing of face coverings, or adjust your approach if your risk assessment concludes that this is appropriate.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Set To Wind Down Despite Step Four Delay
The Government have announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue on its current schedule despite the delay to the lifting of the final set of restrictions.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is due to run until 30 September but will begin the process of winding down from 1 July.
When the tapering of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme begins in July, employees on furlough will still receive 80% of their wages but employers will gradually pay more. Between now and 30 June, the government will pay 80% of wages for hours not worked, up to £2,500 a month with Employers paying national insurance and employer pension contributions. From 1 July the government will only pay 70%, with employers expected to pay the remaining 10%, plus national insurance and employer pension contributions. In August and September, the government will pay 60% and employers will have to pay 20%.
Read more about the Extended Furlough Scheme.
There are four areas that the Government do not currently have enough information to make an informed decision, these areas will be reviewed over the next few months. The four policy reviews will assess:
- How long we need to maintain social distancing rules, wear face masks and continue to work from home (should be concluded before we reach Step 4),
- Foreign travel rules including hotel quarantine, testing and bans on travel from Countries on the Red List. The report will be completed by 12 April so international travel could resume in Step 3. Read more about the UK Travel Quarantine Rules.
- Whether Covid Certificates will help venues open safely (the Government hope to set out the conclusions before we reach Step 4 but this is a complex area, poses moral and ethical questions as well as practical ones, and won’t be decided quickly, and
- How major events can operate safely without social distancing. Pilots using testing and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing will start in April and this could pave the way for allowing things like music festivals over the summer – if the results are successful.
The Chancellor announced in the Budget on 3 March 2021 that the furlough scheme would continue through to 30 September 2021.
Hospital Activity Week by Week in England
During the first lockdown the number of hospital beds occupied by Coronavirus patients reached its peak on 12 April 2020 with 18,974 beds. At the beginning of the second national lockdown the number of beds occupied by confirmed Coronavirus patients was 11,037 and of those 997 mechanical ventilator beds were occupied by Coronavirus patients. At the time the third lockdown started the number of beds occupied by confirmed Coronavirus patients had risen to 26,626 and of those 2,310 occupied mechanical ventilator beds. That was significantly higher than the peak of the first lockdown and was putting enormous pressure on the NHS!
|Date||Covid Admissions From Care Homes||Covid Admissions From The Community||New Covid Cases In Existing Hospital Patients||Beds Occupied By Covid Patients||Mechanical Ventilator Beds Occupied By Covid Patients||Hospital Deaths From Covid|
Publication of Records
New admissions and beds occupied are recorded at 8am daily. I’m providing a snapshot of the figures from each Tuesday to show the trajectory. The number of hospital beds occupied is published within 24 hours, the number of new cases from the community, care homes and existing hospital patients takes between 2-3 days to be published.
An initial figure of the number of deaths is published within 2 days but that figure will be updated numerous times over the following few days as post-mortem tests are processed and data from them are validated, so it can take between one and two weeks before a conclusive figure is declared (I keep this figure highlighted until a conclusive figure is declared).
You can see the full figures on the NHS England website.
- The New Admissions From The Community data shows the number of patients admitted in the previous 24 hours for the first time with COVID-19 plus the number of patients diagnosed in hospital in the previous 24 hours.
- New Hospital Cases shows the number of existing patients diagnosed in the previous 24 hours.
- The number of deaths is the deaths that were recorded that day of patients who have died in hospitals in England and either tested positive for COVID-19 or where no positive test result was received for COVID-19, but COVID-19 was mentioned on their death certificate. All deaths are recorded against the date of death rather than the day the deaths were announced.
If you have any questions, please call me on 0114 360 0626 or simply email me at email@example.com.
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