Government announces first stages of lifting Covid-19 restrictions
The government published a 50-page document today, alongside new guidance for the public, setting out more details of its planned timetable for lifting Covid-19 restrictions.
The document – called “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy” – says homemade cloth face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances.
They don’t protect the wearer but protect “against inadvertent transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically”, the guidance says.
And it adds a face covering is not the same as face masks, such as those worn by healthcare workers which “must continue to be reserved for those who need it”.
From Wednesday, people in England will also be allowed to meet one person from outside their household as long as they stay outdoors and stay 2m apart, the advice says.
Sage, the government’s group of scientific advisers, says the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, according to the document.
As the prime minister set out on Sunday evening, the guidance also sets out the government’s three-step plan:
- In step one, starting on Wednesday 13 May, workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. The government is also urging more vulnerable children to attend school if they are able to.
- In step two, which will begin no earlier than 1 June, nurseries and primary schools will begin a phased return beginning with early years, reception, and years one and six. Some businesses will be able to reopen and sporting events will be able to take place behind closed doors.
- In step three, which will start no earlier than 4 July, more businesses will be able to open – although some, which are crowded by design, will not be able to open. The aim is to reopen businesses such as hairdressers and beauty salons.
All dates could be delayed if not enough progress is made in tackling the virus – and restrictions could be reintroduced, the guidance says.
The guidance also said the government’s ambition is for all primary school children in England to return to school for a month before the summer.
It is likely that the government will continue to advise people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to continue to shield beyond June, the document adds.
And the document also says:
- People in England can drive to any location in the country – but not to other UK nations
- Clothes should be washed regularly if people work with others outside of their household
- Doors and windows should be left open in places where people from different households come into contact
- There needs to be “a rapid re-engineering of government’s structures and institutions” to deal with Covid-19