Grayling UK Covid-19 Monitoring

23rd February 2021, 5:04 pm

Political overview – 22nd Feb 2021
UK Government

Prime Minister’s statement – House of Commons

The Prime Minister began his statement by outlining how the UK must ensure that the lifting of restrictions over the coming months is “cautious but irreversible”, noting that he hoped the following roadmap would act as a “one way road to freedom”. The following plan to ease restrictions applies to England only, but the Prime Minister said he was working closely with the devolved administrations.

Roadmap principles

  • Outlining a roadmap based on a number of steps – the PM stressed that there would
    be at least five weeks between each step, following advice from the Chief Medical
  • For the country to move from one step to the next, the “four tests” must be met. These

    • 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.
    • Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern

Financial support

  • Stressing that the Government would not “pull the rug out” in terms of financial support to individuals and businesses, the Prime Minister stated that the Chancellor would provide an update on existing financial support packages during the Budget on 3rd March.

Step 1

Part 1 (8th March)

  • Schools and Further Education colleges will be allowed to open for all students, and students will be offered twice weekly testing. Families of students will also be encouraged to get tested regularly.
    • Afterschool care can reopen.
  • Under-18 sport can commence as part of education provision.
  • Students on practical Higher Education courses at English universities, who would be unable to complete their courses if they did not return, to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities, or complete assessments will also return to university. For those Higher Education students who can complete their studies at home, the Government will review, by the end of the Easter holidays, the options for timing of the return of these students.
  • Individuals will be allowed to leave home for recreation as well as exercise outdoors – with their own household, support or childcare bubble – or with one person from another household. The Prime Minister gave the example of “meeting outdoors for a picnic”.
  • Also, from 8th March, care home residents will be able to nominate a single visitor who
    can attend for a regular visit. The visitor must complete a negative test.

Part 2 (29th March)

  • The rule of six will be reintroduced from 29th March in outdoor settings, including private gardens.
  • In addition to the rule of six, two households will be allowed to meet outdoors.
  • Outdoor sporting facilities, including tennis courts and outdoor swimming pools, will be allowed to reopen.
  • The legal obligation to “stay at home” will be lifted, yet people will still be encouraged to work from home and limit travel.

Step 2

To commence no earlier than 12th April

  • Non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen.
  • Personal care premises, libraries, gyms and leisure centres, will also be allowed to reopen.
  • Overnight stays away from home will be permitted, with members of your household in self-contained accommodation.
  • Majority of outdoor settings including zoos, drive in cinemas and theme parks will be allowed to reopen.
  • Outdoor hospitality – both pubs and restaurants – will be allowed to open. There will be no requirement to have a substantial meal with alcohol, nor a curfew. Table service only will remain.

Step 3

To commence no earlier than 17th May

  • Indoor entertainment venues, including cinemas, will be allowed to reopen.
  • Indoor hospitality will open.
  • A 30-person limit on outdoor activities will be introduced.
  • Domestic overnight stays will be allowed.
  • Hotels and B&Bs will be allowed to reopen.
  • Outdoor entertainment performances, and indoor organised sport will also be allowed to continue.
  • Larger events will be allowed to continue, yet with capacity limits.

Step 4.

To commence no earlier than 21st June

  • All legal limits on social contact will be removed.
  • The reopening of all closed settings, including nightclubs, will commence, and theatre performances (above those open under capacity restrictions) will be allowed to go ahead.
  • All limits on the number of people at weddings will be lifted.

Additional reviews

In addition to the roadmap, the Prime Minister also announced four reviews will work
alongside the lifting of restrictions, which will advise on the best approach “on the journey
back to normality”.

  • Social distancing
    • The government will undertake a review into social distancing measures, and will help inform decisions on the timings and circumstances under measures such as the wearing of facemasks and the two-metre rule can be lifted. The review will also inform guidance on working from home, and the PM stressed that people should continue to work from home until this review is completed.
  • International travel
    • Another review will focus on the resumption of international travel, and look to see when non restricted travel will once again be possible. A successor to the Global Travel Taskforce will report to the Prime Minister on the 12th April, and its recommendations will focus on facilitating a return to normal international travel.
  • Covid status certification
    • A third review will focus on the status any future “covid status certification”
      could play in the return to normality. The conclusions of this review will be set
      out in advance of Step 4.
  •  Larger events
    • A final review will be undertaken to explore when and how larger sporting events, absent of social distancing, will be allowed to return. These events include sporting events, music festivals, and weddings.

The full updated roadmap is available to view here.

Contact us

Alan Boyd-Hall
Head of Public Affairs
@GraylingUK & @Grayling_PA

Next Article

Deloitte makes tech donation to North West schools

Deloitte North West has announced it is set to donate 300 laptops to its partner schools in Liverpool and Manchester, […]
Read Article