Visit England have shared a summary of the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday 5th April as well as some relevant Government announcements over the weekend.
Prime Minister’s Statement
In his statement yesterday, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson confirmed that from Monday 12 April, England will move to step 2 of its roadmap. As part of the roadmap early thinking on four reviews has been published, on the safe return of major events, on social distancing, the potential role of Covid status certification, and on the resumption of international travel. Please see the summary later in this update.
Updates to guidance on (COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do (England)
Self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England for people with their household or support bubble.
Outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only.
Most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen.
Some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place.
Non-essential retail will be able to reopen.
Personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen.
Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen.
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens.
Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may only remain open for the specific reasons set out in law. A full list of reasons can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.
Key points from Update on Roadmap Reviews
A policy paper has been published today updating on the roadmap reviews. Please see some of the key points below.
COVID-Status Certification Review
The Government believes that COVID-status certification could have an important role to play both domestically and internationally, as a temporary measure.
Equally, the Government wants to be sure that the benefits of any such approach are fully interrogated in public debate and that the deliverability of COVID-status certification is rigorously tested, along with analysis of the potential economic impacts that COVID-status certification would have across different settings.
There are some settings (such as essential public services, public transport and essential shops) where COVID-status certification should never be required, in order to ensure access for all.
Equally, COVID-status certification could potentially play a role in settings such as theatres, nightclubs, and mass events such as festivals or sports events to help manage risks where large numbers of people are brought together in close proximity.
The Government will begin to trial COVID-status certification in certain settings, including large events, through the Events Research Programme. The Government will continue to work closely with sectors on its approach.
It is possible that COVID-status certification could also play a role in reducing social distancing requirements in other settings which people tend to visit more frequently, for example in hospitality settings. However, the Government recognises this has significant implications for businesses and their customers, so this will be further considered in consultation with industry, as part of the review of social distancing rules and taking into account the equalities and other impacts.
For now, businesses should continue to plan to reopen in a way that follows the latest COVID-Secure guidance, and certification will not be required for reopening as part of step 2 or step 3.
Global Travel Taskforce
The Government wants to see a return to non-essential international travel as soon as possible, while still managing the risk from imported cases and variants of concern.
Given the state of the pandemic abroad, and the progress of vaccination programmes in other countries, the Government is not yet in a position to confirm that non-essential international travel can resume from 17 May.
Taking into account the latest situation with variants and the evidence about the efficacy of vaccines against them, they will confirm in advance whether non-essential international travel can resume on 17 May, or whether we will need to wait longer before lifting the outbound travel restriction.
When non-essential international travel does return it will do so with a risk-based “traffic light” system.
This will add to the current system a new green category with no isolation requirement on return to the UK - although pre-departure and post-arrival tests would still be needed.
The Global Travel Taskforce will publish its report, setting out more details on this system, later this week.
It is too early to say which countries will be on the green list when non-essential international travel resumes.
For the moment, the Government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer.
Events Research Programme
The Events Research Programme will explore different approaches to social distancing, ventilation, test-on-entry protocols and COVID-status certification.
It will carry out pilots in a series of venues to gather evidence on the transmission risks associated with different settings, and potential approaches to managing and mitigating transmission risks. The pilots will use the domestic COVID-status certification standards.
Early pilots will focus on demonstrating COVID-status through testing alone, while later pilots will seek to incorporate data on vaccination and acquired immunity.
The Events Research Programme will examine the extent to which COVID-status certification would help towards the return of crowds to mass events and closed settings, from football matches to theatre performances, and the reopening of nightclubs.
The programme will be run across a range of venue and activity types, including the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield and the Circus nightclub in Liverpool, with the aim of admitting a crowd of up to 20,000 to Wembley for the FA Cup final on 15 May.
A second phase of pilots will take place from the end of May.
Social Distancing Review
Social Distancing Review is exploring whether existing rules, designed to limit virus transmission, could be relaxed in different settings.
The review is looking at key baseline measures, including how and when to safely lift or amend the 1m+ rule and related COVID-secure measures, as well as guidance on working from home.
The extent of any relaxation in social distancing measures is linked to the questions being explored by the COVID-Status Certification Review - including whether COVID-status certification can enable changes to social distancing.
Updates to NHS COVID app and twice weekly rapid testing to be available to everyone in England Everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing from 9 April. To coincide with the offer of free rapid testing for everyone, there will be updates to the NHS COVID-19 app in England from 8 April. All venues in England in scope of the regulations are legally required to display an official NHS QR code poster. There will be new posters displaying QR codes for hospitality venues in England. Find out how to create an NHS QR code for your venue.
Everyone in a group must check in
In line with new regulations, when a group enters a hospitality venue, every individual must check either by scanning the official NHS QR code poster with the NHS COVID-19 app, or by providing their contact details. Previously, only the lead member of the group needed to provide contact details to check in.
Venue history sharing If an app user tests positive, they will be asked to share their venue history in a privacy-protecting way via the app. This will allow venue alerts to be generated more quickly, and improve the ability to identify where outbreaks are occurring and take steps to prevent the virus spreading. Additional venue alerts If a person has been at a venue on the same day as several other people who have since tested positive for COVID-19, they may receive an alert advising them to book a test immediately, whether they are showing symptoms or not. This is to support finding asymptomatic cases who may have caught the virus but are not displaying symptoms. A new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service is also launching which will provide an additional route to regular testing. The universal offer is currently for England only. The Devolved Administrations make their own policy decisions around testing. Read the press release to find out more, including how the expanded regular testing offer will be delivered.