During this uncertain time that we are facing, we thought it would be helpful to put together some information that you may find helpful.
How the rules will change on 12 April
Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change on 12 April. You can read the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ (the roadmap out of lockdown) for more information on how COVID-19 restrictions will be eased in England. You can also read the law that underpins these changes and the ongoing restrictions.
From 12 April:
- 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
- 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
- indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
- all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
- 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
- self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
- you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
- care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)
You should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus at all times, including if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
You should follow this guidance in full to limit the transmission of COVID-19. It is underpinned by law.
Face coveringsYou must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops and places of worship, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law. Read guidance on face coverings.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerableIf you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are no longer advised to shield. However, you should continue to follow the guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and are advised to take additional precautions to protect yourself. It is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to limit the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing.
If you have been vaccinated against COVID-19To help protect yourself and your friends, family, and community you should continue to follow all of the guidance on this page even if you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The vaccines have been shown to reduce the likelihood of severe illness in most people. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so those who have received the vaccine should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection.
We do not know by how much the vaccine stops COVID-19 from spreading. Even if you have been vaccinated, you could still spread COVID-19 to others.
Meeting family and friends indoorsYou must not meet indoors with anybody you do not live with, unless they are part of your support bubble (if you are eligible), or another legal exemption applies.
Meeting friends and family outdoors (rule of 6)You can meet up outdoors with friends and family you do not live with, either:
- in a group of up to 6 from any number of households (children of all ages count towards the limit of 6)
- in a group of any size from up to two households (each household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible)
Where you can meetYou can meet in a group of 6 or a larger group of any size from up to 2 households (including their support bubbles) outdoors. This includes private outdoor spaces, such as gardens, and other outdoor public places and venues that remain open. These include the following:
- parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
- public and botanical gardens
- the grounds of a heritage site
- outdoor sculpture parks
- public playgrounds
- outdoor sports venues and facilities
When you can meet with more people or meet indoorsGatherings above the limit of 6 people or 2 households, or gatherings indoors, can only take place if they are permitted by an exception. These exceptions are listed on this page.
Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaking the limit if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.
Support and childcare bubblesYou have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support or childcare bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form a bubble. See the separate guidance on support bubbles and childcare bubbles.
You can only use a childcare bubble for childcare. You cannot use a childcare bubble to mix with another household for any other reason. This means you cannot use a childcare bubble to meet socially with another household.
Going to workYou should continue to work from home where you can.
If you cannot work from home you should continue to travel to your workplace. This includes, but is not limited to, people who work in:
- critical national infrastructure
- childcare or education
- essential public services
- essential retail, such as supermarkets and pharmacies
Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. Where people cannot work from home, employers should take steps to make their workplaces COVID-19 secure and help employees avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.
COVID-secure guidelines are available for sectors across the economy to substantially reduce the risk of transmission.
See guidance for reopening businesses and venues
Meeting others for workYou can gather in larger groups or meet indoors where it is necessary for your work. This does not include social gatherings.
Working in other people’s homesWhere it is reasonably necessary for you to work in other people’s homes you can continue to do so, for example if you’re a:
- social care worker providing support to children and families
Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable or live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerableIf you have been identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable you should continue to work from home where possible. If you cannot work from home, you should go to work. Your employer is required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace and should be able to explain to you the measures they have put in place to keep you safe at work. Some employers may introduce regular testing of employees as part of these measures. You may also want to consider how you get to and from work, for example, if it is possible to avoid using public transport during rush hour.
If you live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable then you can continue to attend work if you are unable to work from home.
You should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus, including what to do to reduce your risk of catching or passing on the virus at home.
If you are worried about going in to work or you cannot workThere is guidance if you need to self-isolate or cannot attend work due to coronavirus and what to do if you’re employed and cannot work.
Citizens Advice has advice if you’re worried about working, including what to do if you think your workplace is not safe, or if you live with someone vulnerable.
Support is available if you cannot work, for example if you need to care for someone or you have less work.
There is further advice for employers and employees from ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).