Bubbles burst! From ordering at the bar to scrapping quarantine and masks – the six freedoms returning on July 19
- Boris Johnson set to let country out of lockdown on July 19 dubbed Freedom Day
- Almost all the restrictions governing Covid secure measures are set to be lifted
- Among those set to go are social distancing and compulsory wearing of masks
Boris Johnson will lift almost all legal Covid restrictions from July 19 under a ‘freedom plan’ to be published next week.
The Prime Minister has all but confirmed that he will give the green light for reopening mid-month as he underlined the success of the vaccine programme.
It is expected he will announce the end of social-distancing, mandatory face masks and quarantine for vaccinated travellers from July 19.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick reassured the public this morning that restrictions would largely be lifted later this month.
The Housing Secretary said the latest coronavirus data is ‘very positive’ as Boris Johnson prepares for the final stage in his lockdown exit roadmap.
Mr Jenrick said ‘the state won’t be telling you what to do’ after rules are eased and there will be a shift in emphasis towards ‘personal choice’ and judgement.
Here’s six freedoms which are set to return on July 19.
No more masks
From freedom day, people will no longer be required to wear facemasks on public transport and when in shops and indoor venues.
Currently, it is against the law to not wear a face covering in these settings and is punishable by a fine of up to £6,400.
But from July 19, it will become official guidance as opposed to a legal requirement.
A source told the Sun that the Government will advise masks are worn in crowded indoor spaces such as a busy train but that it will not be compulsory.
As of July 19, face masks will no longer be compulsory on public transport and indoors
Mr Jenrick said this morning: ‘I think we are going to now move into a period where there won’t be legal restrictions, the state won’t be telling you what to do, but you will want to exercise a degree of personal responsibility and judgment – different people will come to different conclusions on things like masks, for example.’
Although the Government has said the law will be scrapped, some medical experts have called for their use to be continued after July 19.
Some groups, such as the British Medical Association which represents doctors, have been lobbying for a continuation of what the BMA describes as ‘sensible, cautious measures’.
It was reported that Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, believed people might still need to wear masks on public transport and in other enclosed spaces, but he appears to have been won over.
The change will be welcomed by businesses, particularly in hospitality and entertainment.
No more school bubbles
School ‘bubbles’ which has led to hundreds of thousands of pupils being forced to self-isolate at home is to be scrapped and replaced by daily testing.
According to the Mail on Sunday, Boris Johnson will announce this week that children will no longer be barred from the classroom if a pupil in their ‘bubble’ is found to have coronavirus.
Those who have been in contact with the pupil will instead be required to take daily lateral flow tests either at school or at home.
From Freedom Day, school bubbles are set to be scrapped which will come into force next term
The new rules are expected to begin from July 19 – dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ – but many schools break up for the summer holidays that week so in practice they will come into force when pupils return for the autumn term. They will, however, apply for summer camps.
More than 375,000 pupils were self-isolating on June 24 – an increase of 400 per cent on the previous month – but only four per cent had tested positive for Covid-19.
As well as robbing pupils of vital time in lessons, it has caused huge disruption for parents.
No more checking in
From Freedom Day, customers will no longer be required to use the NHS Covid app to check in to venues such as pubs and restaurants.
It is currently a legal requirement to either check in to the venue using the NHS Covid app or to leave your details for contact tracing purposes.
But from July 19, this is set to be scrapped, reducing red tape and bureaucracy for the hospitality, events and retail industries, which have suffered severe financial losses during the pandemic.
Businesses will, however, still be allowed to take customers’ contact details if they wish and the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app will continue to operate to alert people if they have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
The requirement to check in to venues such as bars and restaurants will be lifted on July 19
Pub and restaurant owners have blasted the NHS Test and Trace app for causing a staffing crisis, with businesses forced to close because employees are being repeatedly pinged.
As it stands, workers must stay at home for up to ten days after coming into contact with a positive case even if they test negative for Covid.
Hospitality chiefs have called for this to be changed so that anyone who receives a negative result can go back to work as part of a ‘test and release scheme’.
No more quarantine for double-jabbed sunseekers
The Prime Minister is expected to rescue Britons’ summer holidays by announcing that vaccinated families returning from amber list countries will not have to quarantine on their return.
The move – which could be announced this week – will be a double boost for families desperate for a Mediterranean holiday and a travel trade that has been brought to its knees by Covid restrictions.
No 10 sources said the go-ahead had yet to be given as details were being ironed out, including in relation to children who are not currently vaccinated.
They also stressed that double-jabbed travellers would still have to comply with the strict regime of a Covid test before travel and two tests on return – although there is a possibility that the post-travel tests could be reduced to a single one.
Vaccinated Brits will not be required to quarantine when returning from amber list countries
Mr Johnson is said to be set on lifting the need to quarantine for ten days on return from July 19.
The requirement has effectively ruled out summer holidays for many families as popular destinations, such as mainland Spanish, Portuguese and Greek resorts, are on the amber list.
The plans, which sources said will be worked through as quickly as possible, involve the use of ‘e-gates’ at airports to avoid queues and make travel as easy as possible for fully protected travellers.
But the new system may start with lengthier paper checks at arrivals until the improved technology can be rolled out more widely.
No more social distancing
Boris Johnson is determined to scrap the one-metre rule on July 19 even if other Covid measures have to stay in place, Cabinet sources said last month.
Multiple sources told the Daily Mail that the Prime Minister prioritised the removal of the key social distancing rule above all other measures because of its importance to sectors such as hospitality and the arts.
From Freedom Day, the one-metre rule is expected to be scrapped which means people will be able to enjoy a pint in the pub without having to rely on table service.
With social distancing set to go, bars and pubs will no longer have to provide table service
The lifting of social distancing will also mean that mass events, such as festivals and sporting events, can go ahead.
The Government’s roadmap out of lockdown had originally envisaged lifting all remaining restrictions by June 21.
But the final stage of the plan – known as Step Four – was postponed earlier this month because of the rapid spread of the Indian or Delta variant across England.
No more need to self-isolate
Among the restrictions being lifted on July 19, it is expected the requirement to self-isolate after coming into close contact with someone who has tested positive will be scrapped.
Currently, anyone who is considered a close contact by the NHS Test and Trace app must self-isolate at home for 10 days by law.
But from July 19, it is expected those who are fully vaccinated will be instructed to take daily lateral flow tests for the same length of time.
Among restrictions set to be lifted this month, people will not be required to isolate at home for 10 days if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus
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