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Coronavirus: Easing of Restrictions

Volume 677: debated on Tuesday 16 June 2020

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. On 13 May and 1 June, we introduced some cautious easements of some of the measures in the regulations, in order to begin reopening the economy and returning to normal life, while continuing to protect the NHS and save lives.

Taking into account scientific advice and the Government’s assessment against the five conditions required for change, I have now made some further amendments to the regulations to ease the restrictions as has been announced by the Government in recent weeks.

The changes which have come into effect include allowing for adults who live without another adult in their household, including single parents with dependent children under the age of 18, to form a “support bubble” with another household, and allowing individual prayer in places of worship.

The changes also updated the arrangements for businesses. Non-essential retail can open, as can some additional outdoor attractions, including drive-in cinemas and zoos. Libraries will be able to operate an order and collect service. The amendments also expressly provide for people to make visits such as end of life visits where appropriate.

Publicly available Government guidance on 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.