Phil Day By Superintendent Pharmacist Published:

A series of new measures are being introduced by the Government on Saturday 4th July in the ongoing effort to safely navigate the coronavirus pandemic. This will be the most significant set of changes since lockdown was introduced on 23rd March. There’s a lot of new information to take in, so here’s our brief explainer of the key details.   

Why are these changes happening now?

On 19th June, the UK’s COVID-19 alert level was lowered from 4 to 3 following a recommendation from the Joint Biosecurity Centre. This is because the virus is still in circulation but its transmission is no longer considered to be on the rise. This new relaxation is meant to be a step closer to normal life for people, which will also help support livelihoods. 

What are the new rules around meeting people?

Groups of two households will now be able to meet either indoors or outdoors. However, it’s important to note that social distancing guidelines will still need to be followed. When you’re outside it’s still possible to meet up to 6 people from different households as long as social distancing is followed.

Will 2 metre social distancing still apply?

From 4th July, the 2 metre social distancing rule will be replaced with a ‘1 metre plus’ guideline. Although keeping a 2 metre distance is still preferable, in some instances this may not be possible and other provisions may be required. That’s why it’s now mandatory for people to wear face masks on public transport.  

What businesses are allowed to reopen?

There are several new additions to the Government’s list of non-essential businesses which are allowed to open from 4th July, but they must take precautions in order to ensure the safety of their customers. 

These businesses include restaurants, hotels, pubs and hairdressers, as well as additional tourism and leisure facilities such as outdoor gyms, outdoor playgrounds, cinemas and museums. However, they can only open if they’re able to do it safely. This means that you should thoroughly research the precautions that each business is taking – and may expect you to take – before visiting.

For a full list of which businesses are opening, you can read this Government breakdown

Where do the new changes apply?

The 4th July changes only apply to England. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have their own strategies.

Find out more on the Coronavirus