England has now entered ‘Step 3’ of the roadmap out of lockdown.
From this past Monday, people in England have been able to eat inside restaurants, meet friends and family in groups of 6 or two households indoors, and some lucky folks have even been able to enjoy live music and live sport in person.
We’ve been able to unlock that bit more thanks to everybody’s hard work keeping to lockdown rules and restrictions and because of the success of the vaccine rollout across the country.
But whilst we all want to get back to normal as soon as possible, it’s important we don’t give up any of the progress we’ve made over recent months to get the virus under control.
So that means keeping to good Covid-19 behaviour, such as washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering in certain settings, ventilation, and sticking to groups of 6 or two households. Remember: one in three people who have the virus show no symptoms, but can give it to others who could become seriously ill.
Together, we can look forward to a safe and spectacular summer.
So what’s now allowed?
People can now resume close contact, both inside and outside, with friends and family – including giving people a hug. But it’s also important to exercise caution, so the further away you can keep from other people, the less likely you are to catch Covid-19 and pass it on.
And the number of places where you can meet up to six people has expanded significantly.
Indoor entertainment, attractions and indoor hospitality are now open again – meaning you can sit inside a restaurant, the pub, museums, and cinemas, for instance.
Hotels and B&Bs will also be able to open for overnight stays.
And significant life events – such as weddings, christenings and wakes – can now have as many as 30 attendees.
What about care homes?
Everybody knows that being in a care home has been tough for many residents over the past year, with many of them not able to have physical contact for more than a year. Care home residents can now have up to five regular visitors – and residents are also able to leave care homes for low-risk activities, like a walk in the park, without needing to self isolate on their return.
And large events?
Some large events including conferences, theatres and sports events will be able to resume with capacity limits – for indoor events, that’s 1,000 attendees or half a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower. For large outdoor seated events, that’s 10,000 attendees or 25 per cent of a venue’s full capacity.
“I had to watch them grow up via FaceTime”
Keiran Wardle is a 33-year-old architect in London, who is looking forward to visiting his family back in Liverpool now that restrictions have lifted.
“I haven’t been to see my family since last summer,” he says. “I was planning to go back home for Christmas but then had to change my plans and spent it in London instead. I’ve missed a few important birthdays so I am looking forward to going and spending time with all of my family again.”
Like many families, work and circumstances means Keiran lives in a different city to much of his family. That was fine – until Covid-19 meant travelling around the country became far more difficult.
“I am looking forward to going to my grandma’s house with my family, having a barbecue and catching up,” he says.
Keiran’s aware though that meeting up inside does come with its risks, so he’ll be taking steps to reduce the risk of transmission.
“We’re only meeting up from two different households and will try and spend as much time outdoors as possible, as health experts say transmission is much more likely in indoor environments,” he says.
What should we do when we’re inside?
Always remember: hands, face, space, and fresh air.
When you’re inside with friends and family, as well as keeping to groups of 6 or two households, you should remember:
- Close contact with friends and family is still a risk, so consider keeping your distance
- Fresh air helps blow virus particles away, so when you let friends in, let the fresh air in too. You’re much safer indoors if you keep windows open, as fresh air blows Covid particles away.
Time for a party
We’ve all got used to lockdown birthdays, but mum Vicky Saynor in Hertfordshire is chuffed to be able to take her son Mylo,11, out for a proper birthday party now that things have opened up again.
“We’ve all had locked down birthdays, so we’re going out with three friends to go bowling and go for pizza, and obviously all indoors,” she said.
Mylo and his three best friends are excited about their outing.
“He loves bowling, and he’s happy to be doing something.“
“It’s kind of like going back to the old days, where that’s what we used to do and not think twice about it!”.
Cautious Actions each individual can take to minimise risk and transmission of the virus.
- Meet outside where possible, if meeting indoors restrict this to groups of six or from two households.
- Remember that some people are more vulnerable than others: close contact is riskier for some people more than others for example those that are clinically extremely vulnerable or older, caution should be exercised at all times.
- Minimise how many people you are in close contact with and for how long.
- Take a COVID-19 test twice a week, even if you don’t have symptoms
- When in a public place wherever possible maintain 2m distance and wear a face covering
- Wash or sanitise hands regularly
- Let fresh air in
- Follow Hands/Face/Space/Fresh Air
A summer to remember
After months of hard work, we can all start enjoying a bit of normality. Let’s take this next step safely. For more information on how to stay safe, visit gov.uk/coronavirus.