Monday 12th April sees us move to the next step of the roadmap out of lockdown, with the reopening of more venues no doubt a huge relief to many of us:
- Outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the “Rule of 6”) or 2 households remain allowed.
- We must still remember “Hands > Face > Space… & Fresh Air”: Wider social contact rules will apply in all the settings opening up, to prevent indoor mixing between different households. It’s vital we still practice physical distancing, wear face coverings, and wash our hands or sanitise frequently. The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. If you are indoors in any setting with anyone who is NOT in your own household or support bubble remember to “let fresh air in”.
- Spread often happens in the household but it isn’t inevitable, and germdefence.org can help.
Business and activities
This stage of the roadmap out of lockdown sees more businesses and activities allowed to open:
- Non-essential retail is allowed as well as essential retail.
- Personal care premises such as hairdressers, beauty and nail salons.
- Public buildings, including libraries and community centres.
- Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups, and saunas and steam rooms will remain closed at this stage).
- Outdoor sports facilities remain open along with outdoor sports.
- Most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas.
- Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’).
- People should continue to work from home where they can, and minimise domestic travel where they can.
- Overnight stays away from home in England will be permitted with self-contained accommodation including campsites and holiday lets allowed to reopen, though indoor facilities must only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.
- International holidays are still illegal.
- Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons.
- The number of care home visitors will increase to two per resident.
- The visitors must remain the same, will need to book with the care home, and will require negative lateral flow tests.
Children and Baby Groups:
- All children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity, including sports.
- Parent and child groups of up to 15 people can restart indoors. (Children under the age of 5 will not count towards the total number of the group.)
- Funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners.
- The number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (in premises that are permitted to open).
Alongside the rollout of the vaccine, regular testing is an essential part of the easing of restrictions and now testing is being made even more convenient and easy to obtain. Getting tested is a great way to reduce your risk of spreading the virus to friends, loved ones, and the wider community, and helps track the progress of national and local virus-control measures.
If you or a member of your household has a possible or confirmed case of Covid infection, see these guidelines.
There are different ways to arrange the test depending on whether or not you have symptoms:
If you do NOT have Covid symptoms – All of us should now be starting to test twice a week; the government has announced that everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing twice a week. Testing for asymptomatic individuals is available across the city including fixed sites, mobile sites, and over 100 community pharmacies. Taking a rapid lateral flow test is a great way to reduce your risk of spreading the virus to friends, loved ones, and colleagues if working from home is not possible. If you are asymptomatic and don’t have access to the free lateral flow tests through work, school, or other community sites, you can order free at-home tests here. More information on at-home testing can be seen here.
If you DO have Covid symptoms – If you have symptoms, especially a high temperature, new continuous cough, or change to your sense of smell or taste, you should call 119, or go to the NHS website where you can book a test at one of the 12 local symptomatic testing sites across the city, or arrange a test to be delivered to your home.
Information on the rollout of vaccines across Birmingham can be seen in our article here, including information on avoiding vaccine scams.
Videos answering questions about the vaccines in multiple languages can be viewed here, and information and resources put together primarily by and for BAME communities can be seen here, including a section addressing concerns about the vaccines.
Under 30s may now choose an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine if they wish.
We must continue to follow the social distancing guidelines after having our vaccines, especially while the lockdown measures are gradually eased.