By Rachael Grealish
From today, March 8, the rules have changed for the first time since the country was put into its third lockdown.
Today’s the day Stage One of the Prime Minister’s leaving lockdown roadmap begins and is broken in to two parts and the second part will no begin until March 29.
All lockdown rules, including social distancing, is said to be lifted no earlier than June 21.
So what can you do from today?
All schools and colleges will reopen and children and pupils will return to the classrooms after weeks of more homeschooling.
Secondary school pupils are being asked to take voluntary lateral flow COVID-19 tests on the school premises – if positive they will then have to take a standard PCR test.
Pupils will then be sent home-testing kits to do twice-weekly also.
The Department for Education (DfE) is also advising secondary school students to wear face coverings and masks not only in schools, but is the classrooms where social distancing cannot be maintained.
However, primary school children are not being asked to carry out COVID-19 testing or wear face coverings – but schools will be adhering to COVID safety rules and social distancing.
University students can return for practical course, others will have to continue online learning but there will be a review by the end of the Easter holidays for all other students.
Wraparound childcare can also return for vulnerable pupils and where it is needed for parents or carers to go to work, support groups or to seek medical care.
Stay At Home:
The ‘stay at home message’ is still firmly in place however people will no longer only be confined to the face-to-face company of their family or bubbles.
Two people from different households can meet outside for recreation – this includes a coffee on a park bench or a picnic, whereas before this was not allowed.
Care home residents and their loved ones will finally get the face-to-face reunion they’ve desired for so long.
Residents will now be able to have one regular visitor who they can even hold hands with – but no further physical interaction is allowed even if both participants have had their vaccine.
What CAN’T you do?
All over lockdown rules are still firmly in place – including message to work from home if you can.
No household mixing indoors or outdoors is allowed – unless it’s in the childcare or support bubble.
Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues must still remain closed.
Pub, restaurants and cafes must remain closed except for takeaway or delivery.
One other change from today is to do with travel – a person must complete a travel declaration form if you are travelling abroad from England and a person must also state the reason for your travel on the form.
The next part of Stage One will begin on March 29 where the likes of the ‘rule of six’ will come back in to play, the ‘stay at home’ message will end, outdoor sports facilities will reopen and parent and children’s groups can resume.