On 26 March 2020, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force, imposing restrictions on people’s movements and gatherings, and requiring the closure of certain retail and public premises, in the interest of public health in light of the coronavirus pandemic. A review of these regulations must take place at least every 21 days to ensure the restrictions remain necessary. I completed the third review as required on 28 May 2020.
Taking into account scientific advice and taking into consideration the Government’s assessment against the five conditions required for change, we can proceed with some limited and cautious amendments to the regulations to ease the restrictions as announced by the Prime Minister on 28 May 2020.
The changes coming into effect include allowing for increased social contact outdoors (both public and private places) in groups of up to six people from different households and opening some outdoor retail (e.g. vehicle showrooms and outdoor markets). Those from different households should continue strictly to observe social distancing guidance.
In order to provide greater clarity and certainty to the public, businesses and police, we are confirming in law what people cannot do rather than the reasons for which someone can leave the home.
The changes generally follow the principle that outdoor environments, while not zero-risk, have a lower risk of transmission than indoor.
Additionally, to ensure that we are making future decisions about the lockdown at the right time, the maximum review period will change from 21 days to 28 days. This will allow decisions to align more closely with the period of time necessary to assess the impact of previous changes on key data feeds, including the R rate. The Government will also keep all the measures under continual review and will account to Parliament on an ongoing basis.
Publicly available Government guidance on www.gov.uk is being updated to ensure it fully corresponds with the amended regulations. These remain strict measures, but they are measures that we must take in order to protect our NHS and to save lives.