On Air Now

On Air Next

From self-isolation to mass events – every rule that’s set to change on ‘Freedom Day’

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp

Boris Johnson has confirmed that England’s so-called “Freedom Day” – initially planned for 21 June – is likely to go ahead on Monday 19 July.

But he also said the final decision on whether to proceed will be taken next week, on 12 July.

Earlier, Boris Johnson‘s official spokesman said the government retains the “ability to introduce further measures if they are deemed necessary”.

But he added that things are likely to change in “one go”, and that a “piecemeal approach” is not wanted.

So what will change?

:: Face coverings

Masks will become voluntary in all settings, including shops, hospitality and public transport. People will be told to exercise their personal judgment.

More on Covid-19

While the legal requirement to cover your face will be removed, people are advised that wearing a mask can reduce the risk to themselves and to others – in a crowded space, for example.

Asked whether masks would remain obligatory within healthcare, the prime minister’s spokesman said all legislation on masks was being repealed.

The PM himself told a Downing Street news briefing: “Guidance will suggest where you might choose to do so – especially when cases are rising and where you come into contact with people you don’t usually meet in enclosed spaces, such as obviously crowded public transport.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wears a hard hat and mask during a visit to Teesport in Middlesbrough. Picture date: Thursday March 4, 2021.
Image: Boris Johnson says there may be some settings where mask use should continue

A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan said the London mayor and the head of Transport for London wanted central government to “retain the requirement for face coverings on public transport”.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham tweeted that dropping masks risks “causing real problems for some people who are dependent on it”.

He added: “Those more vulnerable to infection or anxious about it will be put in a very unfair position. Rethink needed?”

People wear face masks while waiting for subway at Victoria Station in London, United Kingdom on June 23, 2021, amid a pandemic of the new coronavirus COVID-19. ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )
Image: There have been calls for face masks to remain a legal requirement on public transport

:: Social distancing/hospitality

All businesses which remain closed – including nightclubs – will be able to reopen, with no caps on capacity.

Mass events, such as music festivals, can restart. Singing in church will be allowed, and there will be no limit on the number of people at weddings and funerals.

Customers in pubs will be able to walk to the bar and be served there.

There will be no requirement to scan a QR code when entering a restaurant, gym, or any other venue.

Nor will businesses be required to collect customers’ contact tracing details, although they may choose to do so if they wish.

Pub
Image: Pubs will not have to collect customers’ details any more

Supporting Test and Trace is a “good thing”, Downing Street said, and the NHS app will still be used.

The “one metre plus” rule on social distancing will be lifted except in specific circumstances such as at a border, where people from red and amber list countries will still be stopped from mingling with each other.

Regarding entertaining at home, house parties will no longer be outlawed.

A passenger walks with her luggage at the Terminal 5 departures area at Heathrow Airport in London
Image: Measures will remain to enforce social distancing in airports

:: Self-isolation

A requirement to self-isolate after testing positive or after coming into contact with an infected person will remain in place.

But the prime minister wants contacts who are fully vaccinated to be exempt and further details are to be set out.

Local directors of public health will be able to respond to serious threats in their areas.

:: Care homes

At present, residents are limited to five named visitors. That limit will be dropped.

But there will be a limit on the number of visits per day, and infection control measures will remain in place.

Senior Woman's Hands On Walking Stick With Care Worker In Background
Image: Care homes…

:: Working from home

The requirement for people to work from home if possible will be dropped.

Asked if there would be a legal right not to go to work, if someone is concerned about their health, the prime minister’s spokesman said the government was not introducing any new employment rights.

:: Quarantine-free travel and school isolation

These will be dealt with later this week.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will talk about plans to remove the need for fully vaccinated arrivals from amber list countries to isolate.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will discuss the school bubble system, amid concern about damage to children’s education.