Following the Prime Minister's address to the nation last night, new Government guidance has been published regarding COVID-19.
The modest amendments to existing guidelines - which may be relevant to you from 13 May - can be found from page 25 onwards.
The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap to balancing our life-saving measures with rebuilding our economy and society. It is subject to successfully controlling the virus and being able to monitor and react to its spread.
The roadmap will be kept constantly under review as the pandemic, and our understanding of it, develops.
THE KEY POINTS
For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible.
But all workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open.
Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open. For example, this includes food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories.
The only exceptions to this are those workplaces such as hospitality and non- essential retail which during this first step the Government is requiring to remain closed.
The rate of infection remains too high to allow the reopening of schools for all pupils yet.
However, it is important that vulnerable children and the children of critical workers are able to attend school, as is currently permitted.
The Government is amending its guidance to clarify that paid childcare, for example nannies and childminders, can take place subject to being able to meet the appropriate public health principles. This should enable more working parents to return to work.
As more people return to work, the number of journeys on public transport will also increase.
Everybody (including critical workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible.
If they can, people should instead choose to cycle, walk or drive.
The Government will increase funding and provide new statutory guidance to encourage local authorities to widen pavements, create pop-up cycle lanes, and close some roads in cities to traffic (apart from buses).
Homemade cloth face-coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances.
The Government is now advising that people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible, for example on public transport. These are not intended to help the wearer, but to protect against transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically.
A face covering is not the same as a facemask such as the surgical masks or respirators used as PPE by key workers. These supplies must continue to be reserved for those who need it.
Face-coverings should not be used by children under the age of two, or by those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly.
As well as exercise, people can now also spend time outdoors subject to:
- Not meeting up with any more than one person from outside your household
- Continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres (6ft) away from people outside your household
- Good hand hygiene, particularly with respect to shared surfaces;
- Those responsible for public places being able to put appropriate measures in place to follow the new COVID-19 Secure guidance.
People may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish. For example, this would include angling and tennis. You will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.
You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household. This means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household.
People may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there.
When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration.
Please keep in mind that some of the above measures, such as increased time spent outdoors, may come with some risk. It is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date.
The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.
If you have an urgent query regarding COVID-19 or the new Government guidance, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org