In his address to the nation on 10 May 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it clear that the relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions is subject to a conditional plan and that the Government 'would not hesitate to put the brakes on' if there are problems.
The immediate substantial changes are the lifting of restrictions on the amount of excercise which can be taken which is now unlimited in amount although still restricted to members of the same household excercising together, and workers that are unable to work from home being actively encouraged to return to work. The 'Stay at Home' instruction is now replaced with 'Stay Alert' and new guidance 'Staying alert and safe - social distancing' has been published today (11 May), which applies only in England and includes the following:
'It is still very important that people stay home unless necessary to go out for specific reasons set out in law. These include:
New guidance for employees to make workplaces COVID-secure are being established, and the social distancing requirements remain in force and will apply on public transport meaning capacity will be severely restricted. The Government plans to counteract that with a £2 billion package to put cycling and walking at the heart of transport policy.
The PM announced a new 'COVID Alert Level' (1 to 5 with 5 being the most severe and warranting total lockdown, and 1 meaning that COVID-19 is no longer present in the UK). The country is currently at level 4.
Further steps in 'conditional plan' to exit lockdown were announced but it was stressed that these are very much subject to conditions being met, including the rate of infection 'R') remaining under 1:
The hospitality industry has previously expressed concerns about any measures to re-open with social distancing requirements in place, with some questioning how social distancing can work in venues designed to bring people together. Industry bodies have already reacted to the PM's announcements, and we have previously published articles on this: