After a year of uncertainty, ever-changing rules, and differing opinions on how best to deal with the coronavirus crisis, things are beginning to get back to something resembling normality.
Thanks in no small part to the UK's incredibly impressive vaccine rollout, COVID-19 cases and deaths have dropped back to roughly the same level as last summer. So there is much to be optimistic about as another summer draws closer.
However, we are not in the clear yet. There is still a lot of work to do before we can resume life as we knew it before COVID-19 arrived in Great Britain.
So what exactly are the current COVID-19 rules? How cautious should we be now that shops, gyms and pubs have once again opened their doors? Do we still need to stay 2 metres apart?
Current COVID-19 Rules
Lockdown rules have recently been eased across the UK, so more people can meet outside.
England has re-introduced the 'rule of six' that allows up to six people to meet outdoors from six different households. Children of all ages are included in this count, but professional carers are not (at least, not when they're working).
For larger families, two households of any size can meet up. If you have formed a support bubble with another household, this counts as a single household - so you and your support bubble can meet with another, separate household. However, you must not meet up indoors with anybody you do not live with unless you have formed a support bubble with them. (Some other exceptions apply; for example, tradespeople may enter your home to carry out work.)
It is hoped that outdoor social gatherings of up to 30 people will be permissible from 17th May, and that the rule of six (or two households) will be applied to indoor gatherings.
Indoor events and all outdoor events should also be allowed from 17th May, although certain safety measures will remain in place.
The current rules for England (as of 29th April) say that:
- Pubs and restaurants are allowed to serve food and drinks outdoors
- All shops can open
- Indoor gyms and leisure facilities can open
- Hairdressers, salons and other close-contact services can open
- Households can take a holiday in self-contained accommodation
In Wales, six people from six households can meet outdoors, including in private gardens. Children under the age of 11 are not included in this count.
Meeting indoors with people from another household is not allowed unless the household is part of your support bubble.
After 3rd May, people will be allowed to form extended households again, allowing two households to meet and have indoor contact as if they were a single household.
Social Distancing Advice
Despite all of the rule changes across England and Wales, the advice regarding social distancing remains the same.
You still need to keep 2m (6ft) away from anyone you don't live with who is not part of your support bubble.
If it's not possible to stay 2m apart, government advice for England states that you should stay at least 1m (3ft) apart but with extra precautions in place (such as wearing a face mask).
As part of the UK Government's roadmap out of lockdown, a review of the benefits of social distancing was announced, with a report due before 21st June.
How IDS Can Help
So, with all the rule changes and easing of restrictions, how can IDS help you?
Well, if your business can now open to the public - but you need to make sure that your customers are able to stay 2m apart - our density control cameras can help you with this.
These innovative systems help to limit the number of people on your premises at any one time - perfect if you have a small shop with little space for social distancing.
Our state-of-the-art people counting cameras are highly versatile and ideal for monitoring activity at your entrance(s). The total number of people on your premises is displayed on a user-friendly data screen, and a real-time alert / voice announcement can be triggered once a certain density is reached.
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