By Rachael Grealish
Following the Prime Minister’s address announcing modifications to the COVID-19 guidelines, a 50-page ‘road map’ of new guidance which comes into effect on Wednesday, May 13 has been released.
The Government guidance says you should stay at home as much as possible, with the only change to the reasons you may leave home is now to go to work if you cannot work from home.
If you are going back to work or have to make an essential trip public transport is to avoided if you can with people encouraged to walk or cycle, with the Government making £250 Million available to local authorities in a previous announcement.
Those being encouraged back to work are those in construction and manufacturing, those working in labs and research facilities, those administering takeaways and deliveries at restaurants and cafes, tradesmen, cleaners and others who work in people’s homes and those who are facilitating trade or transport goods.
All non-essential retail, restaurants, pubs, bars, gyms and leisure centres are to remain closed.
Pubs, hairdressers and cinemas may be opening in July but this all depends on how May and June affects the R rate.
Schools should prepare to begin opening for more children from 1 June, with children of critical workers and vulnerable children being urged to still attend, as many have been throughout the lockdown.
Children that will be heading back are to early years settings, and for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to be back in school with smaller class sizes.
Secondary schools and further education colleges have not been forgotten and Year 10 and 12 pupils should also prepare to begin some face to face contact.
This is as they have key exams next year and is in support of their continued home learning.
It is the governments aim for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month if feasible.
A lot of the changes are around what you can do outside.
Gone has the 1 form of exercise instead people can now spend more time outdoors and exercise as much as they want, you can also now book outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts or tee-off at the local golf course.
The previous travel advice seems to have gone as well with the guidance stating “You can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance” and “Day trips to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted”.
Garden Centres are now on the list of businesses that are opening, so that freshly dug flower bed can now be filled.
Possibly one of the biggest changes has to be that from Wednesday you can meet one other person from a different household outdoors.
This will come as a release to some especially to those that have been separated from children that cannot move between houses.
Expanding your household or ‘bubble’ to include another household is being discussed but will not be coming into effect.
All of this still comes with the need for people to observe the 2 meters social/physical distancing from people that are not in your household.
There have been no changes to anything to do with being indoors, so we still cannot visit friends and family in their homes, exercise at an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool and visit a private or ticketed attraction.
The use of an outdoor gym or playground is still banned as is gathering in groups of more than two, excluding members of your own household.
The exception is for work, funerals, house moves, supporting the vulnerable, in emergencies and to fulfil legal obligations.
Wedding are still prohibited but you could be holding a small ceremony from June 1.
Students that are in University accommodation can return home if that is where they will be permanently living.
As police forces have been issuing hundreds of fines for Coronavirus breeches at £60 the Government have changed the penalty amount with the first offence costing £100 now and increasing up to a maximum £3200.
The big surprise was the delaying of isolation of people coming into the country for 14 days (2 weeks).
More guidance is set to be released as the Government sets out its road map for a return to life as normal as it can be.