When Boris Johnson announced his four-step roadmap out of lockdown, 21 June was dubbed ‘freedom day’ – the day that all Covid-19 restrictions were due to be lifted. However, the prime minister has now announced a four-week delay to lockdown easing. So what does this mean going forwards?
Here’s a breakdown of what restrictions will remain in place until 19 July.
What restrictions remain?
With the ability to meet a number of people indoors and the reopening of pubs and restaurants, a lot of us may be wondering what difference this will make.
The delay in lockdown easing will impact the reopening of things like nightclubs and theatres. It will also continue to limit the number of people you can have in your home.
So let’s take a look at the restrictions still in place:
- Limits remain on the number of people who can mix indoors and outdoors – the rule of six, or two households, will stay in place for indoor meet-ups. Outdoors, it’s up to 30 people.
- Pubs, clubs, theatres and cinemas remain open but still have capacity limits in place.
- Table service remains the only option at pubs and restaurants.
- Limits stay in place on the number of people who can attend sports events.
- Nightclubs remain closed.
- Advice to work from home remains in place.
At the moment, the delay is until 19 July, with a review in two weeks’ time to further assess the situation.
What lockdown restrictions have been eased?
While most lockdown easing has been delayed, there are a few restrictions that will be lifted on 21 June:
- The number of guests at a wedding will no longer be limited to 30.
- Care home residents will not have to self-isolate after leaving their care homes. They will also be able to nominate an ‘essential care giver’ who can visit even if they are self-isolating.
- Children can go on overnight trips in groups of up to 30 with their schools or organisations like the Scouts or Guides.
- Large event pilots will continue.
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What does this mean for the roadmap?
When the government announced its roadmap for lockdown easing, it did caveat that for each stage to happen, certain conditions would need to be met.
So why have things been delayed this time?
The emergence of the Delta variant of Covid-19 has caused concern. The decision to delay stage four of lockdown easing is to ensure that more of the adult population has had two doses of the vaccine before restrictions are lifted. It’s also to allow further study of whether vaccinations have broken the link between catching Covid-19 and hospitalisations.
The main takeaway is that the government is still committed to lifting the remaining coronavirus restrictions – just not yet. The concern is that the spread of the Delta variant will outpace the vaccination drive.
At the time of writing, there have been no changes announced to government support programmes. So furlough is still set to end on 30 September. Meanwhile, the full stamp duty holiday will finish at the end of this month, before tapering off and returning to standard rates on 1 October.
Time will tell whether this latest delay in lockdown easing will impact economic growth. However, positive momentum from the past quarter has led analysts to be relatively optimistic about the UK’s economic prospects for the rest of the year.
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