Covid-19 Response: Summer 2021

On 19th July 2021 we have seen some big changes to the Covid-19 rules and regulations. What are they and what do they mean for you?
Grandpa with toddler holding a balloon

Due to the success of the vaccine programme the Government have made the decision to end a lot of the restrictions that have been enshrined in law although the Prime Minister has urged caution. It will be up to individuals and organisations to make their own choices.

This means that people will make different decisions based on their or their loved ones level of risk. This is known as ‘step 4’ of the roadmap.

Some of the measures included in step 4 are:

  • All remaining limits on social contact are removed and there will be no more restrictions on how many people can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors.
  • All settings are 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.
  • All restrictions on life events such as weddings, funerals, bar/bat mitzvahs and baptisms are removed.
  • The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, published guidance will advise 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.
  • Social distancing rules (2 metres or 1 metre with additional mitigations) will be lifted.
  • It is no longer necessary for Government to instruct people to work from home.
  • Businesses must not require a self-isolating worker to come to work, and should make sure that workers and customers who feel unwell do not attend the setting.
  • Businesses will be encouraged to ask staff and customers to clean their hands regularly and clean surfaces that people touch regularly.
  • In care homes, the Government will lift restrictions that limit each resident to five named visitors. Specific guidance will advise how visits should be conducted to keep care homes safe whilst also making visits as normal as possible. Care homes will need to retain infection prevention and control measures essential to protecting residents from the risk of infection.
  • Read the full guidance here

This lifting of restrictions will be welcomed by some while others will be feeling anxious. It is important to remember that caution is still advised, particularly in busy, indoor spaces. You will still be able to wear a face covering if you choose to.

People are being encouraged to limit the close contact they have with others who they do not normally live or socialise with.

The government are advising people to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to get tested if they have symptoms. It will remain a legal requirement for people to self-isolate if they test positive or are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

What if I am clinically extremely vulnerable?

If you were previously asked to shield by UK government you are being advised to exercise caution. You can find out more here 

In order to take the nest step as safely as possible the government will:

  1. Reinforce the country’s vaccine wall of defence through booster jabs and driving take up.
  2. Enable the public to make informed decisions through guidance, rather than laws.
  3. Retain proportionate test, trace and isolate plans in line with international comparators.
  4. Manage risks at the border and support a global response to reduce the risk of variants emerging globally and entering the UK.
  5. Retain contingency measures to respond to unexpected events, while accepting that further cases, hospitalisations and deaths will occur as the country learns to live with COVID-19.

If you have feedback on health and social care services during step 4, or need advice and information, please contact us at Healthwatch Wokingham on 0118 418 1418 or email

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