BORIS Johnson will today announce six new freedoms Brits will be able to enjoy from July 19 as the country emerges from lockdown.
Social distancing, working from home and compulsory face masks are among the measures expected to be scrapped on ‘Freedom Day’ as the PM tells Brits we must now “live with the virus”.
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The PM will give a press conference this evening to announce which restrictions will be lifted later this month – we look at what you can expect.
SIX BIG FREEDOMS PROMISED TODAY
Brits will no longer receive a fine if they don’t wear a face covering on public transport, the PM is expected to announce.
Under current guidance, Brits face fines of up to £6,400 if they don’t wear a face covering on public transport – unless they are medically exempt.
Masks are also compulsory shops, supermarkets, theatres, libraries, churches, youth and social clubs, hotels and most other indoor settings.
A first offence carries a fine of £200, reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days. The penalty doubles for repeat offences up to a maximum of £6,400.
But ministers are keen to shift the emphasis onto personal responsibility rather than state-enforced rules as the nation emerges from the pandemic.
However, commuters will still be encouraged to wear a mask while on a bus or train – but this will not be legally enforced.
SOCIAL DISTANCING SCRAPPED
The one-metre-plus social distancing rule is set to be scrapped on July 19 in a huge boost for the hospitality industry.
Punters will finally be allowed to mingle and stand once again, while ordering from the bar will also be permitted.
It comes as a huge boost to the hospitality industry, which has struggled to make a profit with limited capacity allowed indoors due to social distancing regulations.
NO MORE QR CODES
Punters will no longer need to check in to venues by scanning a QQ code using the Test and Trace app.
It comes amid complaints from hospitality bosses that the app is leading to staff shortages as increasing number of employees are “pinged” and told to self-isolate.
Rob Pitcher, chief executive of Revolution Bars Group, which runs 66 bars across the UK, said the app was "casting the net quite wide" in terms of who it pings as a close contact of a positive case.
BACK TO THE OFFICE
Brits will be heading back to the office from July 19 after months of remote working.
Current guidance states that employees who can work from home must do so – despite swathes of the economy being open.
But the rules are expected to change from July 19 to allow firms to tell employees how and where they should work.
The move would as a boost for city centres, with many businesses seeing a plunge in revenue due to the lack of commuters.
Companies could be encouraged to tell employees to wear face masks, use hand sanitiser and test employees for Covid, according to the Telegraph.
NO VACCINE PASSPORTS FOR A PINT
Plans for domestic use of vaccine passports are not expected to be part of the government’s roadmap.
This means you won’t need to be double-vaccinated to be able to enter a pub – despite reports earlier this year that the government was mulling the policy.
But vaccine passports could play a role in international travel and potentially large-scale events.
FESTIVALS BACK ON
Mass events, including festivals, will also be allowed under the proposals for the final stage of the road map out of lockdown.
Festivals and concerts have been cancelled for the past 18 months as a result of social distancing restrictions.
But mass events outdoors, such as full stadiums and festivals, are expected to get the go-ahead but with some element of testing or proof of vaccination required.
THREE BIG FREEDOMS TO BE ANNOUNCED LATER…
DOUBLE-JABBED BRITS CAN SKIP QUARANTINE
Plans for double-jabbed Brits to be able to skip quarantine when travelling back from amber-listed countries will not be announced tomorrow.
Under current guidance, anyone returning from an amber-listed country – including holiday hotspots such as Spain and Greece – must self-isolate for ten days when they return to the UK.
Ministers are currently working on plans to allow anyone who is double-vaccinated to skip self-isolation with a rigorous daily testing regime – but this is not expected to be unveiled the evening.
Travel guidance for those who are double-jabbed is expected to be updated later this week.
NO MORE SCHOOL BUBBLES
No announcement is expected this evening on when school bubbles will be scrapped.
However, the school bubble system is expected to be shelved and replaced by daily testing, the Mail on Sunday reported.
Mr Johnson is set to announce that kids will no longer have to miss school if a student in their bubble has Covid.
Those deemed close contacts will have to take lateral flow tests instead.
SELF-ISOLATION SCRAPPED FOR DOUBLE-JABBED BRITS
Currently, anyone alerted by Test and Trace or the NHS App that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive must — by law — isolate at home.
But after a successful pilot scheme running since April, ministers are set to replace that rule for the fully vaccinated with 20-minute lateral flow tests taken each day for the same amount of time.
However, the cabinet is still signing off the plans – with no announcement expected this week.
If you present a negative result, you would be free to leave the house that day.
It comes after businesses complained that the number of staff being "pinged" by the app and told to self-isolate was causing staff shortages.
Last week, around 400,000 people were told to self-isolate by Test and Trace staff or the NHS Covid-19 App.
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