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LOCKDOWN : The Key Changes

LOCKDOWN : The Key Changes

Published by Matthew Pells at 2:40pm 11th May 2020. (Updated at 3:12pm 11th May 2020)

Here is the text of some of the key changes from the Government's revised lockdown policy which will apply from Wednesday 13 May in England.

Work

For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible. This will help minimise the number of social contacts across the country and therefore keep transmissions as low as possible. All those who work are contributing taxes that help pay for the healthcare provision on which the UK relies.

People who are able to work at home make it possible for people who have to attend workplaces in person to do so while minimising the risk of overcrowding on transport and in public places.

All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open.

Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open, for example this includes food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories. The only exceptions to this are those workplaces such as hospitality and non-essential retail which during this first step the Government is requiring to remain closed.

As soon as practicable, workplaces should follow the new “COVID-19 Secure” guidelines, which will be published this week. These will ensure the risk of infection is as low as possible, while allowing as many people as possible to resume their livelihoods.

It remains the case that anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work. Those people should self-isolate, as should those in their households.

Schools

The rate of infection remains too high to allow the reopening of schools for all pupils yet. However, it is important that vulnerable children (including children in need, those with an Education, Health and Care plan and those assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities) and the children of critical workers are able to attend school, as is currently permitted.

Approximately 2% of children are attending school in person, although all schools are working hard to deliver lessons remotely.

But there is a large societal benefit from vulnerable children, or the children of critical workers, attending school: local authorities and schools should therefore urge more children who would benefit from attending in person to do so.

The Government is also amending its guidance to clarify that paid childcare, for example nannies and childminders, can take place subject to being able to meet the public health principles, because these are roles where working from home is not possible. This should enable more working parents to return to work.

Travel

While most journeys to work involve people travelling either by bike, by car or on foot, public transport takes a significant number of people to work across the country, but particularly in urban centres and at peak times.

As more people return to work, the number of journeys on public transport will also increase. This is why the Government is working with public transport providers to bring services back towards pre-COVID-19 levels as quickly as possible. This roadmap takes the impact on public transport into account in the proposed phased easing of measures.

When travelling everybody (including critical workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible.

If they can, people should instead choose to cycle, walk or drive, to minimise the number of people with whom they come into close contact. It is important many more people can easily travel around by walking and cycling, so the Government will increase funding and provide new statutory guidance to encourage local authorities to widen pavements, create pop-up cycle lanes, and close some roads in cities to traffic (apart from buses) as some councils are already proposing.

Social distancing guidance on public transport must be followed rigorously. As with workplaces, transport operators should follow appropriate guidance to make their services COVID-19 Secure; this will be published this week.

Face-coverings

As more people return to work, there will be more movement outside people's immediate household.

This increased mobility means the Government is now advising that people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops.

Homemade cloth face-coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances.

Face-coverings are not intended to help the wearer, but to protect against inadvertent transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically.

A face covering is not the same as a facemask such as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers. These supplies must continue to be reserved for those who need it.

Face-coverings should not be used by children under the age of two, or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly, for example primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions.

It is important to use face-coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

Public spaces

SAGE advise that the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, so the Government is updating the rules so that, as well as exercise, people can now also spend time outdoors subject to:

  • not meeting up with any more than one person from outside your household;
  • continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres (6ft) away from people outside your household;
  • good hand hygiene, particularly with respect to shared surfaces;
  • and those responsible for public places being able to put appropriate measures in place to follow the new COVID-19 Secure guidance.

People may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish. For example, this would include angling and tennis.

You will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.

You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household – this means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household.

People may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there, because this does not involve contact with people outside your household.

When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration.

These measures may come with some risk; it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date. The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.

Protecting the clinically vulnerable

It remains the case that some people are more clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 than others. These include those aged over 70, those with specific chronic pre-existing conditions and pregnant women.

These clinically vulnerable people should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their households, but do not need to be shielded.

Those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact; this is called ‘shielding’. It means not leaving the house or attending gatherings at all, with very limited exceptions.

Annex B sets out more detail on the guidance applicable to different vulnerable groups at this time. The Government knows people are taking shielding advice seriously and is acutely aware of the huge commitment and resolve it requires to keep away from family and friends.

Unfortunately, the current level of transmission of the virus is such that the Government needs to continue to ask that the guidance is followed.

In recognition of the challenge faced by those shielding, the Government is:

● Providing essential food to those unable to leave their home. Over one million food boxes have now been delivered in England by wholesalers to those shielding who asked for help with food, with hundreds of thousands more to follow in the coming weeks. The Government has also arranged priority access to supermarket deliveries for those who have said they need it.

● Facilitating volunteer support. Up to 200,000 calls a day have been made to the shielded in England to confirm their support needs,28 and councils are helping to support them in other ways - including, in some cases, organising regular calls from volunteers to those isolated. Those who are shielding can also directly request the support of NHS Volunteer Responders.

The Government is also aware that when – in time – other members of society return to aspects of their normal daily lives, the challenge for those being asked to shield may deepen. The Government will continue to review the support needs of those shielding and the Government will continue to provide support to individuals for as long as they need its direct help.

Along with the support the Government is providing to those shielding, it will provide vital support for other vulnerable people, such as those at risk of loneliness. The Government is continuing to work to further support these groups, including by providing vital financial support to frontline charities working in these areas. The GOV.UK website provides information about the huge range of support that is available including from local authorities and the voluntary and community sector. The Government will continue to update GOV.UK as new services and support become available.

As the UK recovers, the Government will ensure people with disabilities can have independent lives and are not marginalised. This will include making sure that they can access public services and will consider their needs as the Government creates safe work environments and reopen the transport system. The Government will ensure their overall health outcomes do not suffer disproportionately.

Enforcement

The Government is examining more stringent enforcement measures for non-compliance, as it has seen in many other countries. The Government will impose higher fines to reflect the increased risk to others of breaking the rules as people are returning to work and school. The Government will seek to make clearer to the public what is and is not allowed.

Parliament

It is vital that Parliament can continue to scrutinise the Government, consider the Government’s ambitious legislative agenda and legislate to support the COVID-19 response. Parliament must set a national example of how business can continue in this new normal; and it must move, in step with public health guidance, to get back to business as part of this next step, including a move towards further physical proceedings in the House of Commons.

International travel

As the level of infection in the UK reduces, and the Government prepares for social contact to increase, it will be important to manage the risk of transmissions being reintroduced from abroad.

Therefore, in order to keep overall levels of infection down and in line with many other countries, the Government will introduce a series of measures and restrictions at the UK border. This will contribute to keeping the overall number of transmissions in the UK as low as possible. First, alongside increased information about the UK’s social distancing regime at the border, the Government will require all international arrivals to supply their contact and accommodation information. They will also be strongly advised to download and use the NHS contact tracing app.

Second, the Government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK. Where international travellers are unable to demonstrate where they would self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the Government. The Government is working closely with the devolved administrations to coordinate implementation across the UK.

Small exemptions to these measures will be in place to provide for continued security of supply into the UK and so as not to impede work supporting national security or critical infrastructure and to meet the UK’s international obligations. All journeys within the Common Travel Area will also be exempt from these measures.

These international travel measures will not come into force on 13 May but will be introduced as soon as possible. Further details, and guidance, will be set out shortly, and the measures and list of exemptions will be kept under regular review.

RELATED STORIES : Lockdown : Going Outside The Home

The Governments full "Plan to Rebuild" strategy can be found here

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/884171/FINAL_6.6637_CO_HMG_C19_Recovery_FINAL_110520_v2_WEB__1_.pdf

 

 

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