What is England’s ‘Living with Covid’ plan?
What is England’s ‘Living with Covid’ plan?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the “living with covid” plan that will see an end to all Covid restrictions in England. A similar announcement has been made by first minister Nicola Sturgeon, confirming Scotland will also relax many of its remaining rules in March.
‘Living with Covid’ in England
The government announcement has put forward a “living with Covid” plan, showing the dates at which each step will be taken to allow England to move away from the current Restrictions.
From 21st February:
- Staff and students in most education and childcare settings with no symptoms are no longer required to test twice weekly
From 24th February:
- Legal requirement for self-isolation ends for those who test positive
- Guidance will remain for those testing positive to stay home and avoid contact with others for at least five full days
- Self-Isolation support payments (£500 for those on low incomes) will end
- Routine contact tracing will end, those in contact with someone with Covid will no longer be advised to self-isolate or take daily tests.
- Workers will no longer be required to tell their employer if they need to self-isolate
From April 1st
- Free Covid tests will end for most people
- The use of Covid passports will no longer be recommended, except for international travel
- Employers will no longer need to consider Covid as a separate risk when keeping employees safe
During the announcement, chief scientific advisor, Patrick valance warned that Covid will continue to evolve over the next few years and further variants are expected, with a potential to be more severe than previous variants we have seen.
Therefore, although most of the free testing system is being dismantled in England, the government insists that the UK will continue to do detailed checks and surveillance to look for resurgences of Covid and any concerning new variants which may emerge. The government also insists that it is possible to increase test and trace operations if they are needed.
What are the rules in Scotland?
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has set out plans for easing most of the restrictions currently in place in Scotland.
From February 28th
- The Covid certification scheme will end, although businesses and venues can still continue to use it if they so choose.
- Secondary school pupils will no longer be required to wear masks in classrooms
From 21st March
- Masks will no longer be a legal requirement when on public transport and when in indoor venues (However, the Scottish government still highly recommends face coverings be worn in these situations)
- Businesses, places of worship and service providers will no longer have to follow government guidance on measures to avoid Covid
- There will be no requirement for businesses and service providers to keep customer contact details.
Nicola Sturgeon said that unlike England there is no plan to scrap the requirement to self-isolate for those who test positive, nor was there any plan to charge for tests in the near future. However, Sturgeon did promise to set out more details in March of how testing will work in the longer term.
The current restriction in place in Scotland
- Shops and business must take measures to limit the spread of Covid
- Face coverings are compulsory on public transport and most indoor spaces, including shops and secondary schools
- A Covid certification scheme is In place for venues including nightclubs meaning people musty provide proof of their vaccination status or a recent negative test
- A 2m social distancing rule remains in healthcare settings such as hospitals, doctors surgeries and dentists.
What are the rules in Wales?
A measured easing of Covid restrictions is underway in Wales, but some measures remain in place
- It remains compulsory to wear face coverings in schools, on public transport, and in shops and hospitals
- Secondary school pulps are still asked to test for Covid three times per week.
What rules are lifted in Northern Ireland
- Covid certificates in nightclubs, mandatory face coverings, track and trace requirements and the cap on 30 people in private homes are no longer legal requirements.
- Legal measures have been replaced by guidance, such as recommending face masks are still worn in certain public settings.
How can we help?
If you are struggling to understand how to effectively implement systems into your business based on the restrictions change, our team can help you.
Our highly-skilled, highly qualified H&S consultant team can assist you with completing updated risk assessments, bringing staff back to the office on a full-time basis and more. In addition, our team of expert HR consultants can offer you advice and guidance to ensure you and your business remains protected whilst you begin to update your business’s process to better reflect the current restriction.
If you are interested in discussing the current situation around Covid restrictions further or wish to better understand how our team can help you during this period, feel free to get in contact with our team today.
T: 0844 800 5932