This page was updated on the 19 July 2021
The Government has decided to move to step 4 of the roadmap. The pandemic is not over. Cases are increasing rapidly and a third wave is underway. Step 4 does not mark the end of the need for caution and restraint. At step 4, while many of the legal restrictions that the Government has imposed through the pandemic will be lifted, cautious guidance will remain, making it clear this is not yet a return to normal. While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. While there is no perfect time to relax existing restrictions, moving to step 4 on 19 July means relaxations coincide with the end of the school term and take place over the summer when more activities can take place outdoors and pressures on the NHS are less than in the autumn and winter months.
At step 4, the Government has removed outstanding legal restrictions on social contact, life events, and open the remaining closed settings. The Government will instead enable people to make informed decisions about how to manage the risk to themselves and others. The Government has provided guidance to the public and to businesses on how they can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the risk of a resurgence which puts the NHS under unsustainable pressure. See HM Government COVID-19 Response Summer 2021 for more information.
For guidance regarding the wider community restrictions please visit our FAQ pages.
I'm concerned by the control measures in a business, what can be done?
Preston City Council's Environmental Health Department have powers to investigate, advise and, if necessary, take formal enforcement action against businesses that are not implementing suitable control measures.
You can report business you think is breaking the law by using the button below
Our Covid-19 Compliance pages detail the visits and enforcement actions taken by Environmental Health during the pandemic.
More detail on the lifting of restrictions
- Regulations that place COVID-secure requirements on businesses, including table service, and distancing between tables, have been lifted. However Employers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. Many control measures that have been in place previously were there due to health and safety legislation rather than the specific coronavirus legislation. It remains very important to implement suitable control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between employees and members of the public. See our pages on Employers and Employees Advice COVID-19 for more information.
- Of particular importance is:
- Asking staff and customers to clean their hands regularly;
- Cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly;
- Reducing unnecessary contact in the workplace, where it is practical. This means ensuring different groups of customers remain separate and keeping employees working in bubbles etc;
- Ensuring that all indoor spaces are well ventilated (ensuring windows and doors are opened) and utilising outdoor space where practical.
- Businesses must not require a self-isolating worker to come to work, this is an offence, and should make sure that workers and customers who feel unwell do not attend the setting.
- All remaining limits on social contact (currently 6 people or 2 households indoors, or 30 people outdoors) have been removed and there will be no more restrictions on how many people can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors. However employers will be expected to manage the risk and as such may need to set their own limits of people attending their settings.
- All settings will be able to open, including nightclubs. Large events, such as music concerts and sporting events can resume without any limits on attendance or social distancing requirements. However employers will be expected to manage the risk and as such may need to set their own limits of people attending their settings, or put in place other control measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- All restrictions on life events such as weddings, funerals, bar/bat mitzvahs and baptisms will be removed, including the remaining restrictions on the number of attendees. There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing. However employers will be expected to manage the risk and as such may need to set their own limits of people attending their settings, or put in place other control measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, published guidance advises that wearing a face covering will reduce your risk and the risk to others, where you come into contact with people you don't normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces. Businesses will be encouraged to ask Employees and non-employees to wear face coverings, especially in enclosed crowded spaces.
- Social distancing rules (2 metres or 1 metre with additional mitigations) has been lifted.
- It is no longer necessary for Government to instruct people to work from home. Employers can start to plan a safe return to workplaces, with suitable and sufficient control measures in place to mitigate and control the spread of COVID-19.
See our pages on Employers and Employees Advice COVID-19 for more information.