Covid-19 Restrictions Update
The Government has started the New Year with a review of the current situation regarding Covid-19 and the restrictions in place. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced on Tuesday (4th January) that the government intends to continue with the current restriction in place across the UK.
Current Restrictions within UK nations
These restrictions differ in each nation of the UK, the specific restrictions for each nation can be seen below;
Covid Restrictions in England
- Compulsory face coverings in most indoor public venues, including theatres and cinemas – as well as on public transport and in shops and hairdressers – but not in pubs or restaurants, or venues such as gyms where it’s “not practical”
- People should work from home “if they can”, and are advised to take lateral flow tests before entering any “high-risk setting”, such as a workplace
- People need to show that they’re vaccinated, have recently tested negative (or are exempt) to gain entry to nightclubs and large-scale events
- Secondary pupils will be required to wear face coverings in class until at least 26th January
Covid restrictions in Scotland
- limits on the size of live public events:
- Indoors – 100 standing or 200 seated
- Outdoors – 500 seated or standing
- Football matches effectively spectator-free, and non-professional indoor contact sports has been halted
- Nightclubs are closed
- Life events like weddings are not affected.
- Pubs, bars and other hospitality venues are operating with table service only.
- One-metre (3ft) social distancing is advised in these settings, with no more than three households in each group.
- people asked to limit social contact to two other households – and to use lateral flow tests before meeting
- shops and businesses to take measures to limit the spread of Covid
- care home visits limited to two households (who need to be tested)
- employers have a legal duty to let staff work from home
- face coverings compulsory on public transport and most indoor spaces
Covid Restrictions in Wales
- social distancing of 2m (6ft) in all premises open to the public and workplaces, where reasonable
- gatherings limited to six people in premises such as hospitality venues, cinemas and theatres
- licensed premises to take additional measures to protect customers and staff, including table service and collecting contact details
- large events not allowed – with maximum numbers of 30 at an indoor event and 50 outdoors
- nightclubs must close
- large sporting events to be played behind closed doors
- For smaller sporting events, up to 50 spectators are allowed. There is an exception for events involving children.
- NHS Covid Pass needed for entry to cinemas, theatres and concert halls, and many other events
- working from home wherever possible
- compulsory face coverings in schools, on public transport, and in shops and hospitals
- advice to wear masks in pubs and restaurants, when not eating or drinking
Covid Restrictions in Northern Ireland
- nightclubs are closed
- dancing in all hospitality venues not allowed
- all indoor standing events not allowed
- hospitality venues including pubs, cafes and restaurants can offer table service only
- in hospitality venues a maximum of six people (or 10 from a single household) allowed at a table (excluding children aged 12 and under)
- businesses must take measures to achieve 2m social distancing and limit the spread of Covid in office spaces
- businesses to promote use of face coverings
These measures do not apply to weddings or civil partnership celebrations
- Household mixing should be limited to a maximum of three households
- face coverings compulsory in shops, indoor-seated venues and visitor attractions, public transport and some other settings
- post-primary pupils must wear a face covering inside school buildings, as well as on school transport. Staff are encouraged to wear masks in school areas where they can’t socially distance
- Covid passport scheme for venues including bars and cinemas
Changes to Positive Test Procedure
On 5th January, the Government announced a change to the current Covid positive test procedure.
Under the current restrictions, those who test positive must confirm the result by taking a PCR test, however, after the 11th of January individuals with no symptoms that receive a positive lateral flow test in England no longer need to confirm their result with a PCR.
The UK Health Security Agency stated that while Covid levels are high, people can be confident that the rapid tests are highly accurate. The change will be reviewed when the proportion of the population with the virus drops below 1% (Currently around 4%)
Under the new guidance, individuals in England receiving a positive lateral flow test should report their results on the Government website and self-isolate immediately.
Changes to pre-arrival tests and travel isolation periods in England
Currently, all travellers to the UK aged 12 and over have to show proof of a negative test, which can be a PCR or a lateral flow test and must be taken up to two days before departure for the UK. They then have to take another test – which this time must be a PCR test – within the first two days after their arrival in the UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the government’s plan to change those travelling to England from overseas. From 04:00 GMT on 7th January, double vaccinated passengers will no longer have to take pre-departure Covid tests in England.
Those fully jabbed will also not be required to self-isolate while awaiting test results after arriving in England. If they arrive after the start of the new guidance, they will be able to take a lateral flow test on day two and only need a PCR if the result is positive
Should you wish to discuss any of these points, or you are looking to create a smooth HR operation please get in contact with the team at HPC today.
T: 0844 800 5932