Move to Step 4 of the roadmap for England confirmed
In a press conference this evening Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that England will move to step 4 from 19 July. He said that we cannot return instantly to how life was before COVID-19 and while cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. The next steps have been set out in the moving to step 4 guidance published today. (see below)
Moving to step 4 of the roadmap guidance for England
The moving to step 4 guidance outlines the key protections that will remain in place, the pathway through the summer and the five-point plan to manage the virus in the next phase. At step 4, while many of the legal restrictions that the Government has imposed through the pandemic will be lifted, cautious guidance will remain, making it clear this is not yet a return to normal. The Government will continue to manage the virus and provide guidance over the coming months.
Key protections that will be kept in place:
- Testing when people have symptoms and targeted asymptomatic testing in education, high risk workplaces and to help people manage their personal risk.
- Isolating when positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace or when advised to by the NHS COVID-19 app.
- Border quarantine: for all arriving from red list countries, and for those people arriving from amber list countries, other than those UK residents fully vaccinated in the UK vaccine programme.
- Cautious guidance for individuals, businesses and the vulnerable whilst prevalence is high including:
- Whilst Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer;
- Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport;
- Being outside or letting fresh air in; and
- Minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
- Encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high risk settings to help to limit the risk of infection. The Government will work with organisations that operate large, crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of the NHS COVID Pass. If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the Government will consider mandating the NHS COVID Pass in certain venues at a later date.
Pathway through the summer
- On 12 July and in the days following, the Government will publish guidance on how to reduce risk through practising key behaviours:
- For individuals: while there is a move away from most legal restrictions, the guidance is there to help us all act responsibly. While prevalence is high, it is essential that everybody follows the guidance and takes action to protect themselves and others.
- For businesses, setting out advice for how to understand and mitigate risks as we start to live with COVID-19.
- For those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.
- On 19 July, most legal restrictions will end, removing social distancing and social contact restrictions and enabling remaining businesses to reopen. All adults have now been offered a first dose of the vaccine.
- By the end of July, the Government will publish an updated COVID-19 contain outbreak management framework for local areas.
- On 16 August, the rules on self-isolating as a contact will change for people who are fully vaccinated, and for under 18s. Those not fully vaccinated will still need to isolate if they are contacts, and everyone will still have to isolate if they test positive, to protect themselves and others.
- In September, the Government will undertake a review to assess the country’s preparedness for autumn and winter, which will consider whether to continue or strengthen public and business guidance as winter approaches, including on face coverings and test, trace and isolate, and will review the remaining regulations.
The five-point plan to manage the virus in the next phase
The five point-plan also set out in the COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 will help manage the risks of living with the virus on the careful and cautious pathway back to normality.
- Reinforce the country’s vaccine wall of defence through booster jabs and driving take up. Government will encourage vaccine take up among young adults and those yet to be vaccinated, ensure all adults have had the opportunity to receive two doses of the vaccine by mid-September, and offer booster jabs to the most vulnerable subject to final advice from the JCVI.
- Enable the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws. Government will reopen the remaining closed settings and remove regulations from 19 July, provide guidance for individuals, businesses, and those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable on the behaviours that can help to protect everyone. Government will look to operate public services in a way that supports everyone feeling safe to access them, and work with businesses to the same effect.
- Retain proportionate test, trace and isolate plans. Government will keep our testing system in place; continue to offer free lateral flow tests to help people manage their personal risk; maintain current domestic isolation requirements until 16 August before introducing an exemption for fully vaccinated contacts and under 18s; and maintain support for self isolation, with practical and financial support available until the end of September.
- Manage risks at the border and support a global response to reduce the risk of variants emerging globally and entering the UK. Government will continue to operate a traffic-light system for international travel, reassessing the red, amber and green lists this week, and every three weeks, through the summer; remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated UK travellers returning from amber countries from 19 July, while retaining PCR testing crucial for identifying new variants; and accelerate global vaccination by prioritising access to vaccines in developing countries.
- Retain contingency measures to respond to unexpected events, while accepting that further cases, hospitalisations and deaths will occur as the country learns to live with COVID-19. Government will continue to monitor the data on a regular basis to ensure there is no danger of the NHS facing unsustainable pressure; work with local authorities and provide national support to local areas that need an enhanced response to COVID-19; and maintain contingency plans for re-imposing economic and social restrictions at a local, regional or national level if evidence suggests they are necessary to suppress or manage a dangerous variant. Such measures would only be re-introduced as a last resort to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, set out plans for the final step of the roadmap in England
The Prime Minister held a press conference today outlining more details about step 4, the final stage of the England roadmap, which is expected to start on 19 July. At step 4, the Government will remove outstanding legal restrictions on social contact, life events, and open the remaining closed settings. Guidance will be provided to the public and to businesses on how they can help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
There are 5 principles for managing COVID-19 as England learns to live with the virus:
- Reinforce the country’s vaccine wall of defence through booster jabs and driving take up.
- Enable the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws.
- Retain proportionate test, trace and isolate plans in line with international comparators.
- Manage risks at the border and support a global response to reduce the risk of variants emerging globally and entering the UK.
- Retain contingency measures to respond to unexpected events, while accepting that further cases, hospitalisations and deaths will occur as the country learns to live with COVID-19.
More details can be found in the COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 (see summary below).
He also announced that the Government will work with the travel industry on removing the need for full-vaccinated people to isolate when entering the country from amber countries. The Transport Secretary is due to set out more details later this week.
‘COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021’ Published
The UK government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021’, setting out the details of Step 4 of the COVID-19 roadmap in England.
In summary, at step 4:
- All remaining limits on social contact (currently 6 people or 2 households indoors, or 30 people outdoors) will be removed and there will be no more restrictions on how many people can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors.
- All settings will be able to open, including nightclubs. Large events, such as music concerts and sporting events can resume without any limits on attendance or social distancing requirements.
- All restrictions on life events such as weddings, funerals, bar/bat mitzvahs and baptisms will be removed, including the remaining restrictions on the number of attendees. There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing.
- COVID-status certification will not be required in law as a condition of entry for visitors to any setting. Organisations can choose to ask visitors for proof of COVID-status, as long as they meet existing legal obligations including under equality law. The Government is providing a way for individuals to easily demonstrate their COVID-status. This can be achieved by completion of a full vaccine course, a recent negative test, or proof of natural immunity - through the NHS COVID Pass on the NHS app.
- The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings. Guidance will advise that wearing a face covering will reduce personal risk and the risk to others, when coming into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
- Social distancing rules (2 metres or 1 metre with additional mitigations) will be lifted. Social distancing will only be required in limited circumstances: ports of entry for passengers between disembarkation and border control in order to manage the risk of Variants of Concern being transmitted between individuals; and people who are self-isolating should also continue to socially distance from others, particularly where they have had a positive test.
- Regulations that place COVID-secure requirements on businesses, including table service, and distancing between tables, will be lifted. ‘Working Safely’ guidance will be updated to provide examples of sensible precautions that employers can take to reduce risk in their workplaces. Employers should take account of this guidance in preparing the risk assessments they are already required to make under pre-pandemic health and safety rules.
- The Government will no longer instruct people to work from home. Employers can start to plan a return to workplaces.
- Businesses must not require a self-isolating worker to come to work, and should make sure that workers and customers who feel unwell do not attend the setting.
- Businesses will be encouraged to ask staff and customers to clean their hands regularly and clean surfaces that people touch regularly. The Government will provide guidance on how businesses can reduce unnecessary contact in the workplace, where it is practical. Operators will still be encouraged to use outside space where practical, and to consider the supply of fresh air to indoor spaces. Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors could be used to help identify where a space is poorly ventilated with businesses encouraged to take steps to improve ventilation if CO2 readings are consistently high.
- Businesses will be encouraged to display QR codes for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, to support NHS Test and Trace, although it will no longer be a legal requirement.
Building on the updated guidance on meeting friends and family, announced as part of step 3, the Government will provide advisory guidance on how people can manage the risks to themselves and to others, including:
- Meeting in well-ventilated areas where possible, such as outdoors or indoors with windows open.
- Wearing a face covering where they come into contact with people they don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.
- Washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day.
- Staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk of passing on other illnesses onto friends, family, colleagues, and others in your community.
- Considering individual risks, such as clinical vulnerabilities and vaccination status.
The Government will continue to urge people to get vaccinated, and to self-isolate and get tested if they have symptoms. It will remain a legal requirement for people to self-isolate if they test positive or are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace. The public will continue to be encouraged to download and use the latest version of the NHS COVID-19 app to help reduce the spread of the virus.
The Government intends to exempt people who have been fully vaccinated from the requirement to self-isolate if they are a contact of a positive case, with a similar exemption for under 18s. Anyone who tests positive will still need to self-isolate regardless of their vaccination status.
Travel restrictions will continue as part of the UK Government’s plan to prevent the continued emergence of Variants of Concern.
Other government updates
The social distancing review and COVID-Status Certification review reports have been published. These reviews, alongside other Roadmap reviews into events, have informed the approach to step 4.
New guidance to check if you need to change your Self Assessment return for SEISS
New guidance has been published to help individuals find out if and when they may need to make a change to their Self Assessment tax return for SEISS payments, and how to do it.
Individuals need to check their Self Assessment return if they have:
- Already submitted their 2020 to 2021 Self Assessment tax return online
- Claimed a Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant during 2020 or 2021
HMRC may have made an adjustment to individuals returns if:
- The amount of the SEISS payments put in the SEISS box does not match their records
- There was no SEISS amount entered
- A Self Employment or partnership page (SA103 or SA104) was not submitted and SEISS payments were received
Individuals need to check their Self Assessment tax return to make sure any adjustments are accurate. The adjustment (and how to check it) depends on individual circumstances and how returns were submitted. See the full guidance for more information.
Funeral and commemorative event guidance updated
From 21 June, the rules on funerals and commemorative events, such as stone setting ceremonies, the scattering of ashes or a wake, will change. There will no longer be a maximum number of attendees set out in law for funerals or commemorative events. Instead, the number of attendees will be determined by how many people the venue or outdoor space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
In a COVID-secure venue, where the premises are operated or used by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body (such as a place of worship or a hospitality venue), venues will advise organisers the maximum number of people who will be able to attend.
Group size for out-of-school residential visits increased
From 21 June, limits for out-of-school residential stays have also been increased in England, meaning that hotels and other forms of group accommodation will be able to offer residential visits for groups of up to 30 children, rather than groups of 6.
Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) guidance updates
The guidance for businesses to check if they are eligible for the ARG grant has also been updated to clarify which sectors are eligible to receive it. Whilst local councils have the freedom to determine the eligibility criteria for these grants, the government has set out an expectation that the funding should help businesses that are severely impacted by the restrictions. Local councils are encouraged to support:
- Businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme, including those which do not pay business rates.
- Businesses from sectors that remain closed or severely impacted by the extended restrictions, even if those businesses have already been in receipt of Restart Grants. This may include the travel and tourism sector, wedding industries, nightclubs, theatres, events industries, wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses.
The spending allocation deadline for the ARG has been extended to 30 July 2021 and the guidance for Local Authorities has also been updated.
Eviction protection extended for businesses
Businesses that have had to remain closed during the pandemic and are unable to pay rent on their commercial property will continue to be protected from eviction. Legislation will be introduced in this session to ring-fence outstanding unpaid rent that has built up when a business has had to remain closed during the pandemic.
Landlords are expected to make allowances for the ring-fenced rent arrears from these specific periods of closure due to the pandemic, and share the financial impact with their tenants. The legislation will help tenants and landlords work together to come to an agreement on how to handle the money owed – this could be done by waiving some of the total amount or agreeing a longer-term repayment plan. This agreement should be between the tenant and landlord and, if in some cases, an agreement cannot be made, the law will ensure a binding arbitration process will be put in place so that both parties can come to a formal agreement. This will be a legally binding agreement that both parties must adhere to.
In order to ensure landlords are protected, the government has said that businesses who are able to pay rent, must do so. Tenants should start paying their rent as soon as restrictions change, and they are given the green light to open. The existing measures in place to protect commercial tenants from eviction will be extended to 25 March 2022.
Temporary insolvency measures extended
The Insolvency Service has announced that regulations are set to be laid that will mean restrictions on statutory demands and winding up petitions will remain for a further three months until 30 September 2021 with a view to protecting companies from creditor enforcement action where their debts relate to the pandemic.
Other Government updates
- The domestic cruise ship travel guidance has been updated to say it is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced. By step 4, the government hopes to remove all legal limits on social contact. This includes lifting capacity limits for domestic cruises.
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance has been updated with a reminder that from 1 July 2021, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough.
- Guidance has been published for people who are organising a wedding or civil partnership, or funeral, wake or commemoration, including in a private home or garden.
- Version 2 of the guidance and FAQs for local authorities have been published for the Welcome Back Fund which is to enable local authorities in England to put in place additional measures to create and promote a safe environment for local trade and tourism.
Updated guidance for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations
From 21 June the rules for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies; and wedding receptions and civil partnership celebrations will change. There will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees set out in law. Instead, the number of attendees at weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
In a COVID-secure venue, where the premises are operated or used by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body (such as a place of worship or a hospitality venue) venues will advise organisers the maximum number of people who will be able to attend.
Some restrictions on ceremonies and receptions remain in place to enable them to take place safely. These include Step 3 requirements on table service, face coverings, social distancing, and restrictions on dancing and singing.
Viewings can continue to take place at any venue which is not required in law to remain closed, so long as appropriate COVID-19 mitigation measures are in place. This includes, for example, any restaurant or indoor visitor attraction.
There is also new information available for those organising an event in venues such as private gardens or on private land.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was joined by Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, and Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Vallance, at a press briefing this evening.
As not all of four tests for proceeding to step 4 in the UK Government roadmap have been met, step 4 openings will be delayed until July 19th, with the exception of weddings and wakes of more than 30 guests which still can go ahead with social distancing.
The situation will be monitored daily and if after 2 weeks, the risk looks like it has diminished, it would be possible to move to step 4 earlier. In the meantime, pilots for sporting events, such as the Euros, and some theatre performances will continue.
The guidance on what you can and cannot do in England
The guidance on what you can and cannot do in England has been updated with a summary on changes from 21 June, including more information on weddings, civil partnerships and commemorative events.
From 21 June, the rules on the number of people who can attend a wedding or civil partnership ceremony, a wedding reception or civil partnership celebration, and a commemorative event following a funeral such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering, will change.
The number of people who can attend these events in a COVID-Secure venue or other venue (such as a garden of a private home) will be determined by how many people a venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place, including guests of all ages and anyone working at the event.
Some restrictions on these events will remain in place to enable them to take place safely. This includes table service requirements, face coverings, social distancing, and restrictions on dancing and singing, as at present.
There is a little more information on these events if taking place in a private setting. The guidance on wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations is due to be updated by 15 June. The guidance on arranging or attending a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic is due to be updated by 17 June.
The heritage locations guidance has been updated for Step 3 of the roadmap (from 17 May). Please see some key information below;
From 17 May, the following will apply.
Heritage locations can open to the public.
- This applies to indoor and outdoor heritage locations including stately and historic homes and castles, historic parks, gardens, landscapes, ruins and monuments. Locations can open indoor and outdoor facilities, including visitor centres.
- Guests can visit these locations in line with the legal gathering limits. Outdoors, people can only gather in groups of up to 30 people (unless an exemption applies). Indoors, people can only meet in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households/bubbles (unless an exemption applies). Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble.
Indoor and outdoor activities and guided tours are permitted, but must operate within the legal gathering limits.
- Activities and tours can be provided for a single permitted group of visitors (up to 30 people outdoors, or up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles indoors, unless exemptions apply).
- Activities and tours can also be provided for multiple groups, provided that the organiser takes the required precautions and groups are kept separate throughout the activity or tour. Each group must adhere to the legal gathering limits (up to 30 people outdoors, or up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles indoors, unless exemptions apply).
The rules on meetings and events will change:
- Indoor and outdoor events can take place, with COVID-secure measures and capacity limits in place. This includes business events such as conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, charity auctions, private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality. Events permitted from Step 3 should follow all COVID-secure guidance, adhere to all legal requirements, and take all reasonable action to mitigate risk to public health. Capacity restrictions will apply to both indoor and outdoor events. Further guidance can be found in the section on meetings and events, the guidance for visitor economy settings and the organised events guidance for local authorities.
- In-person meetings can take place when reasonably necessary. However, businesses should not hold meetings for the purposes of gathering staff if they are not necessary. Business show-rounds, viewings and site visits can take place at heritage locations. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events and the guidance for visitor economy settings.
- Weddings/civil partnerships, funerals and other life events can take place, however restrictions will apply to some types of event. Wedding show-rounds, viewings and site visits can take place at heritage locations. You should check the guidance on wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations and funerals and ensure you follow any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events.
- Hospitality venues such as restaurants, cafes and bars can open to the public for indoor and outdoor service (and can continue to offer takeaway food and drinks). Restrictions apply, including measures on table sizes and how customers are served.
- You can find more information in the section on changes to facilities and services and the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.
Visitor attractions and recreational venues:
- Visitor attractions and recreational venues can open both indoor and outdoor areas. You can find more information in the guidance for visitor economy settings.
Updates to the hotels and other guest accommodation guidance
The hotels and other guest accommodation guidance has been updated to include measures that will apply from Step 3 from 17 May in England. Please see a summary of the changes below, see the full guidance for more detail.
- All guest accommodation can open for leisure stays. This includes hotels, hostels, B&Bs and other types of accommodation that rely on sharing facilities (including kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation). More information on how to operate shared facilities is available in the section on changes to facilities and services.
- Overnight stays in guest accommodation are restricted to groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles. People should stay socially distanced from anyone they do not live with or share a bubble with.
- Where reasonably necessary, there is an exemption to the social contact limits for residential visits organised by schools, colleges, further education and higher education providers for educational or educational training purposes. See the full guidance for more information on educational bubbles. More information is also available in the guidance for schools, further education colleges and providers and higher education providers.
- Residential trips for out-of-school settings, such as youth groups and children’s extra-curricular clubs, should be restricted to groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/support or childcare bubbles, including supervising adults. More information is available in the guidance for out-of-school settings.
- All guest accommodation can open permitted businesses and services on-site for access by guests and by the general public, including where the entrance is within the guest accommodation. This includes indoor and outdoor sport facilities (such as swimming pools and gyms), spas and personal care facilities (such as hair, beauty, and massage services), and retail facilities. Saunas and steam rooms can reopen. Also check the guidance for sport facilities, close contact services and retail shops, stores and branches to ensure the relevant requirements are adhered to.
- This also includes indoor and outdoor hospitality facilities, such as restaurants, cafes and bars. At any premises serving alcohol, customers are required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (even if no alcohol is ordered). If a hospitality venue does not serve alcohol, then customers can order and collect food and drink from a counter, however the venue must take all reasonable steps to ensure that customers remain seated while consuming food or drink on the premises. Hospitality venues may continue to provide takeaway food and drink. Customers must not consume takeaway food and drink on the premises or adjacent to the premises.
- - Food and/or drink (including alcohol) can be provided through room service.
- Communal spaces such as lounges or lobbies may remain open to guests but no food or drink should be served in these spaces, people should not be encouraged to gather and social distancing should be observed.
- Indoor entertainment is permitted. This includes venues such as theatres, cinemas and concert halls, and performance/screening areas within the premises of another venue such as a pub, hotel or holiday park.
See the section on hospitality in the hotel guidance and the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services for other relevant measures.
- For existing bookings, if guests are not able to take a planned holiday due to coronavirus restrictions, accommodation providers should give guests a chance to cancel their bookings. If a booking is cancelled, either by the guest or the provider, we encourage accommodation providers to offer alternative dates if this can be agreed with the customer. If this cannot be arranged, we expect businesses to provide a refund depending on the terms of the booking contract.
Business meetings and events
- Permitted venues (including guest accommodation) can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely.
- Permitted venues (including guest accommodation) can host business meeting/event show-rounds, viewings and site visits for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking.
- Indoor and outdoor business events can take place. This includes conferences, trade shows, exhibitions, charity auctions, private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality.
- More information is available in the section on meetings and events and the guidance for visitor economy settings.
Today the UK COVID-19 alert level was reduced from level 4 to level 3 following a joint statement by the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) recommending this change.
This afternoon the Prime Minister held a press briefing confirming England will move to Step 3 on 17 May. He outlined the measures that will change from that date. See changes below. The Prime Minister also said that subject to the impact of these relaxations on the data, we are on track to move to Step 4 on 21 June.
The what you can and cannot do guidance for England has been updated with measure that will change from 17 May.
- Gathering limits will be eased. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings will be limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
- Indoor entertainment and attractions will be permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas.
- People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
- Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
- Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes). This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
- All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
- Funeral attendance will no longer be limited to 30 people, but will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events will be increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people.
- There will no longer be a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. There will be a traffic light system for international travel, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.
- New guidance on meeting friends and family will emphasise personal responsibility rather than government rules.
Updates to the visitor economy guidance
The visitor economy section of the working safely during coronavirus guidance has been updated to reflect step 3 (no earlier than 17 May) of the roadmap.
In Step 3, the following measures will apply:
Visitor attractions and recreational venues can open both indoor and outdoor areas.
- Games and recreation facilities, such as bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, laser quest, escape rooms, paintballing, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks) and trampolining centres.
- Water parks and theme parks.
- Animal attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife centres.
- Attractions such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks.
Most indoor and outdoor entertainment venues can open to the public. This includes venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, arcades and bingo halls.
Indoor and outdoor events can take place, but measures apply including following COVID-secure and social distancing guidance.
- Events permitted from Step 3 (which include business events such as conferences and exhibitions, live performances, and sport events) should follow all COVID-secure guidance, adhere to all legal requirements, and take all reasonable action to mitigate risk to public health. An event cannot take place in either Step 2 or Step 3 if it is unlikely that social distancing between groups of attendees can be maintained, or if other COVID-secure requirements cannot be met. This may be the case for events such as music festivals and carnivals.
- Capacity restrictions apply to both indoor events (1,000 people or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower) and outdoor events (4,000 people or 50% of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower).
- Further guidance can be found in the sections for business meetings and events and other events and attractions, and in the organised events guidance for local authorities.
Tours and transport services:
- Indoor and outdoor guided tours are permitted, but must operate within the legal gathering limits and follow COVID-secure guidance. Tours can be provided for a single permitted group of visitors (up to 30 people outdoors; up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles indoors), or multiple permitted groups (of up to 30 people outdoors; groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles indoors) that are kept separate throughout the activity. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
- Private hire coaches are permitted for a private group of a single household/bubble, and may also accommodate groups containing multiple households travelling together to the same destination or making the same journey (e.g. for the purposes of a leisure tour). This can only take place under certain conditions and where coaches operate in line with social contact limits, meaning that permitted groups (of 6 people or 2 households/bubbles) must be kept separate at all times whilst indoors on the tour. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
- All heritage railway services are permitted to operate. This includes heritage railway services operating as public transport (journeys from point A to point B), as well as those provided primarily for dining or other recreational purposes, or for the carriage of passengers from the same start and end point. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations and the guidance on safer travel.
- Private aircraft and hired self-fly aircraft are permitted for groups of up to 6 people or 2 household/bubbles. You can find more information in the guidance on safer travel, and guidance on international travel.
- Self-drive day-hire of boats is permitted, within the legal gathering limits. There are different restrictions for different types of vessels. Boats which are open-air can be used within the legal gathering limits (by a group of up to 30 people). Boats which are enclosed can only be used by up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
- Self-drive holiday-hire (where people make overnight stays) of boats is permitted for up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
- Skippered boats can operate within the legal gathering limits. There are different restrictions for different types of vessels. Boats which are open-air can be used by groups of up to 30 people, and multiple groups are permitted under certain circumstances. Where boats are partially or fully enclosed, people should only gather indoors within their group (up to 6 people or 2 households/bubbles) and groups should not mix. Multiple groups are permitted inside under some circumstances. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.
- Domestic cruises (departing from, and returning to, UK ports) can operate, with restrictions on capacity. They may operate beyond UK waters, but are restricted to UK port calls. Groups of more than 6 people or 2 households/bubbles will not be allowed to mix indoors, whether or not they originally booked in the same group. You can find more information in the guidance on domestic cruise ship travel and the UK Chamber of Shipping’s COVID-19 framework for operators.
- People present in a work capacity (including volunteers), such as coach drivers, tour guides and skippers, are not counted as part of a group.
Update to restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services guidance (England)
The guidance has been updated with some information for Step 3 (no earlier than 17 May) of the roadmap and contains steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus. In addition to the info below, business should make sure that they are familiar with the UK government guidance to ensure that they make their business safe during coronavirus.
Following the move to Step 3, businesses will be able to:
- Reopen indoor areas of their venues.
- Serve customers in groups of up to 6 or 2 households indoors, or in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
- There will also be some relaxation of rules around live performances, business events and soft play areas.
Businesses may wish to erect outdoor shelters. To be considered ‘outdoors’, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open at all times whilst in use.
Table service will be required for venues that serve alcohol, even if no alcohol is ordered, this means customers must order, be served and eat/drink while seated. If a venue does not serve alcohol, customers can order and collect food and drink from a counter. But they must consume food and drink while seated at a table.
Entertainment within or outside restaurants, pubs, bars
At Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, more types of socially distanced indoor and outdoor events are allowed. Some types of events, including live performance events and business events, should have a cap on attendance of:
- 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower - indoors
- 4,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower - outdoors
These events should be ticketed. Read the organised events guidance for more information on the types of event subject to these requirements.
Any events should be held in a separate room from regular food and drink customers to prevent mixing with event attendees.
Businesses can continue to provide other types of entertainment to food and drink customers. The following guidance should be followed:
- Determine the viability of entertainment and maximum audience numbers. Make this consistent with social distancing outside and within venues, and with other safety considerations.
- Prevent entertainment, that is likely to encourage audience behaviours with increased transmission risk. For example, loud background music, communal dancing, group singing or chanting.
- Reconfigure your entertainment spaces to ensure customers are seated rather than standing. For example, repurposing dance floors for customer seating.
- Communicate clearly to customers your arrangements for entertainment. Clearly supervise them with extra staff if appropriate.
Changes to shops and branches guidance (England)
At Step 3, customers may attend shops in groups of up to 6 people or 2 households of any size indoors; or in groups of no more than 30 people outdoors.
Limit on mourners at funerals to be removed (England)
Legal limit on numbers of mourners at funerals to be removed in England at Step 3 of the roadmap. Venues such as places of worship are to set limits based on individual capacity. All organisers must continue to be COVID secure and follow social distancing rules