With ‘Freedom Day’ almost upon us thousands of people are suddenly going to be faced with all sorts of decisions they never previously thought they would have to make.
From whether it will now be possible to order drinks standing at a bar to the question of face masks, we will face a raft of choices on how to conduct ourselves in daily life.
But while some will be a matter of personal conscience, other things will still be firmly prescribed in law, under remaining Covid legislation.
And even if something is legal and can be done freely, does that mean it should be – given that cases of the virus continue to rise and the number hospitalised grows each day?
Here we look at what can be done, what should be done and what cannot be done from Monday, July 19
What people can do
- Go to a nightclub, concert or sporting event. All legal restrictions around mass gatherings will be lifted on July 19, although organisers are expected to ensure attendees have been vaccinated or tested negative.
- Order drinks from a bar. Restrictions that mandate table service will be lifted on Monday.
- Attend a wedding, funeral or life event with an unlimited number of guests.
- Worship with an unlimited number of people.
What people should do
- Continue to limit number of people you meet indoors or outdoors. The Government is advising people to minimise the “number, proximity and duration of social contacts” despite the end of restrictions.
- Keep social distance. People are encouraged to "exercise common sense and consider the risks" of social situations.
- Limit seeing family and friends. The guidance states: "You should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually."
- Only see people inside with ventilation. Government guidance says that people should either spend time “outside or [let] fresh in” as long as the spread of coronavirus in communities remains high.
- ‘Check in’ when at larger or high-risk events. Using the NHS Covid App to ‘check in’ will no longer be mandatory, although ministers “encourage organisations in higher risk settings to use the NHS Covid Pass as a condition of entry”.
- Scan the NHS Covid app when visiting a restaurant, event or business. Businesses collecting customer details through the NHS Covid App will “no longer be a legal requirement”, but it is still advisable as a matter of social responsibility.
- Wear a face covering. Face coverings will no longer be mandatory but the Government still “expects and recommends” their use on crowded settings such as public transport.
- Work from home. People who have worked from home during the pandemic should only “return to work gradually”, the health secretary has advised.
- Only meet vulnerable people outside. Those who are clinically vulnerable have been told it is “important that you continue to be cautious”.
- Avoid crowded places if vulnerable. The clinically vulnerable are advised that they may only want to visit supermarkets “at quieter times of the day”.
- Don’t meet unvaccinated people if you are vulnerable. People who are vulnerable are also asked to do what “feels right for you and your friends”.
- Get a test if offered by your workplace or school. Britons are told they should test regularly in “education and high-risk workplaces” where rapid coronavirus testing is offered.
What people must not do
- Leave home if you test positive. It will remain the law that you have to self-isolate if you test positive for coronavirus, even if you have no symptoms.
- Leave home if identified as a contact by Test and Trace (until Aug 16). It will remain the law that you have to self-isolate if identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace, even if you do not have coronavirus yourself.
- Leave home if not fully vaccinated and identified as a contact by Test and Trace (until Aug 16). From then, those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to self-isolate if identified as a close contact by NHS Test and Trace, but those who have not had both vaccines must continue to isolate.
- Leave quarantine if unvaccinated and returning from an ‘amber list’ country. Existing isolation rules around foreign travel will remain in place.
- Leave hotel quarantine if returning from a ‘red list’ country.