Government announces next stage of easing coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

Government announces next stage of easing coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

The Prime Minister has confirmed that, subject to a final review of the data on 12 July 2021, legal restrictions relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will end on 19 July 2021. This means remaining limitations on social contact (six people or two households indoors and 30 outdoors) will be removed, and settings like nightclubs will be reopened. Although there will be no legal requirement to wear face coverings, public guidance will advise individuals to wear a face covering when encountering those they do not normally meet in enclosed spaces. While social distancing rules will be lifted, individuals should remember close conduct with those who are clinically vulnerable or not yet fully vaccinated still carries risks.

The key points in the context of employment are as follows:

• visitors to any setting will not need to prove COVID-status certification to enter but organisations are able to ask for proof of COVID-status provided they meet existing legal obligations including those under equality law

• employers can start planning a return to work but must ensure that those feeling unwell do not attend and that self-isolating workers are not required to come to work

• COVID-secure requirements, such as table service, will be lifted though ‘Working Safely’ guidance will be updated to ensure employers continue reducing risk in their workplaces

• while businesses are encouraged to continue displaying QR codes for the NHS COVID-19 app, it will not be a legal requirement. Businesses should also ask staff and customers to regularly clean their hands and surfaces regularly touched

• those who have been fully vaccinated and under 18s will not need to self-isolate if they are a contact of a positive case

• regular asymptomatic testing will continue to break the chains of transmission and can be used to help manage periods of risk, such as returning to work

• the government will launch a consultation on whether the condition of care homes staff to be vaccinated should be extended to healthcare and further social care settings like domiciliary care

• positive cases and close contacts who cannot work from home and would experience financial hardship due to isolation may be eligible for the £500 Test & Trace Support Payment or support from their local authority until the end of September at a minimum

• further details on removing the need for fully vaccinated arrivals from an amber country to isolate will be set out by the Transport Secretary

The government’s final reports on social distancing, COVID-status certifications reviews and events research programmes can be read here.

Source: COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 (for Employment)

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