Today, the Prime Minister set out the next steps in the roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions in England by moving away from legal restrictions to allow people to make informed decisions about how to manage the virus. He was joined by England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty and the UK government's chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance to talk through the reasons and what it means to the country.
The government indicated that most restrictions should be able to be lifted from 19 July and move into step 4 of the recovery plan. although the final decision will be taken on the 12 July, by way of a 5 point plan:
1. Reinforce the vaccination programme by accelerating the vaccine roll out further by reducing the interval between the 2 doses from 12 weeks to 8 weeks for under 40s
2. Allow people to make their own decisions including the end of 1m plus rule, no limits on social contact to allow people to gather in groups of any size and all legal requirements to wear a face mask have been lifted and the advice given was to wear them "where you might choose to do so". The prime minister gave the example of crowded public transport as somewhere that you may wish to do so. Working from home orders will also end on 19th July
Crucially for the events industry, there will be no restrictions on the number of people attending large scale events, such as at sporting events, theatres or concerts - ending capacity caps for venues. All legal limits on indoor and outdoor meetings will go.
All remaining businesses including nightclubs are also able to reopen.
3. Continuing with test, trace and isolate system - but the government wants to replace isolation with daily testing.
4. Maintain tough border controls including red list countries. Plans to replace isolation for fully-vaccinated people returning from amber list countries will be announced later this week.
5. The government will continue to monitor the data throughout high risk periods such as the winter.
The government has also chosen not to impose the use of domestic covid passports for people to demonstrate their vaccination or testing status when attending pubs, bars, restaurants or other venues.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid updated MPs at the same time to cries of “hallelujah” in the House of Commons.