What are the latest Covid-19 lockdown measures to be eased?

Coronavirus lockdown measures are to be relaxed further from August 1 in England under new plans announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Here is what will change and what measures will remain in place to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

– When can I return to the office?

Furlough study
Employers will be able to decide if staff should return to the office (Joe Giddens/PA)

Mr Johnson said he would broadly lift the work-from-home guidance which has been in place for most people in the UK during lockdown.

However he said it was up to individual employers, rather than the Government, to decide whether their staff should return to the office from August 1.

Employers “should be encouraging” workers to return, so long as their workplace has introduced coronavirus safety measures, Mr Johnson said.

The Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, said on Thursday there was no need to change the work-from-home, if you can, advice.

Can I use public transport for non-essential journeys?

Coronavirus – Tue May 12, 2020
People will be able to make non-essential journeys on public transport (Victoria Jones/PA)

Advice to avoid using public transport has been lifted in England as of July 17, meaning people are free to make non-essential journeys on buses and trains again.

However, people are still being told to wear face coverings while travelling, to avoid peak times and adhere to social distancing measures.

Mr Johnson said alternative means of travel should also be used “where possible”.

– When can I visit the theatre again?

Coronavirus
Theatres will be allowed to reopen (Victoria Jones/PA)

From August 1, audiences will be able to return to indoor theatres and music venues in England, so long as they adhere to social distancing.

Leisure centres, bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos will also be allowed to reopen from the same date.

Nightclubs, however, will remain closed.

– Are sports venues going to reopen?

Crystal Palace v Manchester United – Premier League – Selhurst Park
Larger gatherings will be piloted at different stadiums (Glyn Kirk/NMC Pool/PA)

Mr Johnson said the Government will pilot larger gathering in sports venues ahead of a wider reopening planned for the autumn.

Pilots to reopen sports stadiums will include the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield from July 31 and the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival from August 1.

– How many people can attend my wedding? 

Coronavirus – Sat Jul 4, 2020
Restrictions are being lifted on wedding receptions (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

From next month, wedding receptions for up to 30 people will be allowed to resume, so long as measures are in place to reduce Covid-19 transmission.

Beauticians will also be allowed to reopen from August 1.

– What about local lockdowns?

From July 18, local councils in England will have new powers to prevent the spread of coronavirus in their areas.

Local authorities will be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces and cancel events, Mr Johnson said.

New draft regulations will be published next week on how central Government can also intervene by introducing local stay-at-home orders and “transport systems” in those areas, Mr Johnson added.

– What is the new testing target?

Coronavirus – Thu Jul 2, 2020
The Government has set itself a new daily testing target (Peter Byrne/PA)

The PM committed to a new target of reaching the capacity for 500,000 coronavirus tests per day by November in order to distinguish between flu and Covid-19 symptoms.

He added that the “biggest-ever flu vaccination programme” will also be rolled this year.

It comes as a report by Sir Patrick warned there could be 120,000 hospital deaths in a “reasonable worst-case scenario”.

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