What Covid rules are changing on Freedom Day in England?

 Monday marks so-called “freedom day” in England when most remaining legal coronavirus restrictions are lifted.


After months of pandemic-related constraints, the country has finally reached the last step in the Government’s unlocking road map.

What measures are going?

It is official: social distancing limits are largely over, with no more “rule of six” and “one metre plus” restrictions.

Groups of more than six people from multiple households will be able to hang out indoors and outdoors.

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Businesses will reopen, including shuttered nightclubs who can welcome party-goers back to dance floors.

Legal limits on mourners at funerals and those celebrating weddings will also end, as will school bubbles.

Can we all throw away our face masks too?

It is complicated. Legally, face coverings will mostly no longer be mandatory in indoor settings.

But the Government says it “expects and recommends” masks to be worn by workers and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces.

This could include using public transport or mixing with people you do not normally meet.

The official message is one of “personal responsibility” and “informed choice”.

So where will face masks still be needed?

In London, Sadiq Khan has said they will still be compulsory on the capital’s transport network.

Passengers in bus stations operated by combined authorities West and South Yorkshire, on the North East’s Metro and Greater Manchester’s Metrolink tram services will also be required to wear them under local rules.

Supermarket chains – including Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose – will encourage customers to keep masks on.

Are large events back on?

Yes. From Monday people can begin enjoying concerts, theatre and sports events once again.

The Government recommends businesses use “certification” as a basis of entry to venues deemed “high risk”.

Is this connected to talk of “vaccine passports”?

In a sense, except action from businesses will not be mandatory, only recommended.

Organisations are being encouraged to use the NHS Covid Pass – that gives details of someone’s vaccination or test result status and featured in large event trials – to help limit the risk of infection.

What about if I just want to go to the pub, will I need a pass then?

Possibly. The Government is not being prescriptive about what venues could use the system, so it will be up to venue management or landlords themselves to decide if it will be necessary to guarantee the safety of staff and patrons.

Table service is recommended to continue in bars.

Pub group JD Wetherspoon has said it will relax its face mask and table service rules for customers but will still encourage the use of its app for ordering.


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