The Roadmap to normality…

Boris Johnson yesterday outlined the Roadmap that the Government hopes to follow to release us all from Lockdown, and restore some semblance of normality. The plan is made up of several stages, each of which will be dependant on four tests.

The Four Tests

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  • The assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

The Roadmap Steps

There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step, to ensure there is enough time for any resulting increase in cases to show in the data. It may be necessary to delay a step, in which case the following steps will also be delayed by the same timescale.

Thus the following dates can only be indications at this stage; confirmation of each step will be provided one week before the expected date. They do give grounds for planning though, and allow business owners to start to plan for reopening.

Please note – this information applies to England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may take their own approach, as they have done throughout, so please check!

Step 1 – 8th March 2021

This is the only confirmed date, based on the current data.

  • Schools and Colleges will open for all students.
  • Recreation or exercise allowed outdoors with your own household or one other person. No indoor mixing of households.
  • Stay at home where possible.
  • Funeral groups can include up to 30 people, wakes and weddings up to 6.
  • Wraparound childcare can recommence. (This includes childminders and after school activities where it enables parents or carers to work.)

29th March 2021

  • Rule of 6 or two households can mix outdoors, including private gardens, maintaining social distancing. No indoor mixing of households.
  • Outdoor sport and leisure facilities can reopen.
  • Organised sport allowed outside for both children and adults.
  • Outdoor parent and child groups can meet, with up to 15 parents.
  • Travel should be minimised. No holidays.

Step 2 – No earlier than 12th April 2021

  • Indoor leisure, including gyms open for use by individuals or household groups.
  • Personal Care premises can reopen.
  • All retail can reopen.
  • Outdoor hospitality can reopen, without the need for food to be purchase or a curfew. This must be by table service.
  • Libraries and community centres reopen.
  • Outdoor attractions, including zoos and theme parks can reopen.
  • Self contained accommodation can reopen, without mixing of households.
  • All children’s activities, indoor parent and child groups up to 15 parents can restart.
  • Funeral groups can include up to 30 people, wakes, weddings and receptions up to 15.
  • Working from home where possible should continue. Travel should be minimised, with no international holidays.
  • Event pilots will begin.

Step 3 – No earlier than 17th May 2021

COVID-secure guidance remains in place, but:

  • Indoor hospitality can reopen, without the need for food to be purchase or a curfew. This must be by table service.
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions can reopen (including museums, cinemas and children’s play areas)
  • Groups of up to 30 people can meet outdoors, with the Rule of 6 or two households applying indoors. (Subject to review)
  • Domestic overnight stays allowed.
  • Organised indoor adult sport and exercise classes allowed.
  • Most significant life events allowed up to 30 people.
  • Remaining outdoor performances can restart, including performances.
  • Remaining accommodation, such as hotels and Bed & Breakfasts can reopen.
  • Larger events can restart. Capacity limits will apply: Indoor events 1,000 people or 50% capacity, outdoor other events 4,000 people or 50% capacity, outdoor seated events 10,000 people or 25% capacity (where capacity is shown, it is the lower limit that will apply) Larger events will be subject to the Events Research Programme findings around how such events can take place without the need for social distancing, using other mitigating such as testing.
  • International travel will be possible, subject to review.

Step 4 – No earlier than 21st June 2021

All of the following are subject to review:

  • No legal limits on social contact. Guidance will follow on how to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Nightclubs can reopen.
  • No legal limit on life events (weddings, funerals etc).
  • Large events will restart, subject to the findings of the Events Research Programme.

Yet to be confirmed…

Some measures may be required even after all adults have been offered a vaccine, as 100% coverage is impossible.

Four projects will address these key areas, as follows:

1 COVID Status Certification

Known in the media as COVID passports, the Government is considering the impact such certification could have on reopening the economy, reducing restrictions and improving safety.

2 Large Events

The Events Research Programme will look at when and how indoor events with large crowds and less distancing can return safely. This includes sports events, music festival and large weddings and conferences. Pilots will start in April. Findings will help devise the correct approach, which is hoped to be as part of Step 4.

3 International Travel

The Government is working with other countries to find a way to lift restrictions ‘gradually and sustainably’, taking into account the impact they are having on key industries such as tourism and aviation. The Department of Transport will report to Government in April with findings and recommendations. Step 3 may include some reduction in restrictions, but there are many variables to consider, many of which are outside of the UK’s control.

4 Social Distancing

A full review of social distancing measures will be completed before Step 4, to include the long term measures that should limit transmission. This will include guidance on working from home, which should be continued wherever possible until this point.

 

The full guidance for reopening businesses and venues, as published on Gov.uk, can be found here.

The full Roadmap, from which these details have been drawn, can be seen here.

The Budget…

There is also the Budget to contend with! Speculation in the media is rife with rumours of tax hikes, changes to Capital Gains Tax or Entrepreneurs Relief, the abolition of the furlough scheme and all sorts of things.

Whilst we have no idea what will be announced on the 3rd March, we are hoping for common sense from Rishi Sunak.

  • For us, that’s a reduction in furlough rather than a hard end, perhaps extended for some of the worst affected industries.
  • We know that as an economy we need to pay for the support that has been provided at some point, but hope that there’ll be time for businesses to get back on track before those are implemented.

Whatever happens, we’ll let you have details of the announcements as soon as we have them.

And finally, ‘Safe Behaviours’ will help!

The following ‘Safe Behaviours’ are recommended throughout the coming weeks. If we all practice these, the chances of being able to stick to the plan increase…

  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Wear a face covering in enclosed environments.
  • Maintain space with anyone outside of your household or bubble.
  • Meet with others outside where possible.
  • Minimise the number of different people you meet and the length of those meetings where possible.
  • Let fresh air in.
  • Download the NHS Test and Trace app.
  • Get a test immediately if you have any symptoms.
  • Self isolate if you have symptoms, have tested positive or have had contact with someone with COVID-19.

 

If you’d like to discuss any of the above, or any aspect of your business, please get in touch.

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