Monday 17th May sees us move to Step 3 of the roadmap out of lockdown, with an emphasis on personal responsibility when the limits ease in many more settings:
Larger social gatherings will be allowed, with recommendations to make personal judgements on risks:
- Outdoor gatherings: Up to 30 people allowed (including in private gardens).
- Indoor gatherings: Allowed, with up to 6 people (the “Rule of 6”), or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
- New guidance when meeting friends and family: The new guidance emphasises personal responsibility rather than government rules – Instead of instructing you to stay 2m apart from anyone you don’t live with, you will be encouraged to exercise caution and consider the risks associated with COVID-19 and actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some people than others, and in some settings and circumstances there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family. The updated guidance on meeting with people safely can be seen here.
- “Hands > Face > Space> & Fresh Air”: We’ll be allowed to be closer to, or even hug our friends and family, using our own judgement, but we’re still encouraged to maintain physical distancing when possible in social settings, to wear face coverings where required, 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”.
Businesses and Activities
Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits:
- All retail: Allowed to open (since 12th April).
- Personal care premises, including hairdressers, beauty and nail salons: Allowed to open (since 12th April).
- Public buildings, including libraries and community centres: Allowed to open (since 12th April).
- Outdoor attractions, including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas: Allowed to open (since 12th April).
- Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and spas: Allowed to open (since 12th April). From 17th May, steam rooms & saunas will be allowed to reopen.
- Organised sports, including gym classes: Allowed to reopen indoors and outdoors, when organised by a business, charity or public body which must take reasonable measures to prevent transmission.
- Entertainment premises, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas: Permitted to open with Covid-secure measures in place.
- Events, including live performances, sporting and business events: Allowed to attend indoor and outdoor events, with attendance capped by venue. Attendees must follow Covid-secure measures.
- Hospitality, including restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes: Allowed to reopen, indoors and outdoors.
- Holiday accommodation, including hotels, B&Bs and campsites: Allowed to reopen for use by groups up to 6 people, or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
- Work: People should continue to work from home where they can.
- UK travel: When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.
- Overnight stays in UK: Allowed – see guidance for holiday accommodation above, and please check any local rules in Scotland.
- International travel: All international travel allowed, subject to a “traffic light” system which determines the rules you must follow when returning to the UK. Please also remember to check the rules and restrictions for any country you intend to visit.
- Higher Education: In-person teaching resumes.
- Face coverings: No longer required for secondary school pupils.
- Visitors: Each resident will be allowed 5 designated visitors. Two visitors will now be allowed to visit at once. The 5 designated visitors must remain the same, will need to book with the care home, and will require negative lateral flow tests.
- Going out: Care home residents are allowed to go on trips and visits outside the care home, without having to self-isolate on return. The resident must be accompanied by a responsible designated visitor and adhere to Covid-secure measures.
Support Groups, and Parent & Child Groups
- Children’s indoor activities: All indoor children’s activities allowed, including sports. (Since 12th April.)
- Parent and child groups: Allowed with up to 30 people indoors. (Children under the age of 5 will not count towards the total number of the group.)
- Support groups (any age): Allowed with up to 30 people indoors. (Children under the age of 5 will not count towards the total number of the group.)
- Funerals: Attendance no longer limited to 30 people, but attendance levels will be capped according to venue type.
- Weddings, wakes & commemorative events: Attendance allowed to rise to up to 30 people.
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 testing twice a week. 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 or school, you can order free at-home tests here, and testing kits are also available at our local network of community pharmacies. 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.
The age range of eligibility for vaccination continues to get lower. Those who are eligible will be contacted by the NHS to book their vaccination. If eligible, you can book a vaccination or manage an existing appointment here, or by calling 119.
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 40s will be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
After being vaccinated, we must continue to follow the social distancing guidelines, especially as the lockdown measures ease further.
It’s important we also look after our wellbeing. When we’re allowed to travel further, we encourage everyone to make the most of Moseley, including enjoying some of Birmingham’s wonderful parks, and by shopping locally, maintaining social contacts and hobbies safely.