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Updated: 14 July 2020

Quick Links:

Future Phases of Strategy  -  Explaining the Current Phase  -  Current Regulations  -  FAQs  -  Ongoing Updates/Information

The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy:

On the 10th of May, the Prime Minister announced the recovery strategy for the United Kingdom. Some may be concerned or confused with recent announcements regarding the Government's strategy. My team and I have provided relevant and condensed information detailing the current guidelines, linked below.

 

The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation. The spread of the virus has been particularly and surprisingly rapid. In the UK at its maximum, the number of patients in intensive care was estimated to be doubling every 3-4 days. This type of exponential growth would have overwhelmed the NHS. Thanks to the careful and considered compliance of the vast majority of the British public to the guidelines, this peak has not happened.

Tragically the number of excess deaths so far this year is 35-40,000 higher than the average for 2015 to 2019. Particular concerns are for care homes and for the higher proportion of COVID-19 fatalities from minority ethnic backgrounds - and for males too. 

The Government has signposted its recovery strategy as we return to some semblance of normality. We should all continue to act on advice on how to go about our daily lives safely. The health of our families, our communities and ourselves depends on that. This global crisis requires local communities to pull together. Worthing and Arun have a legacy of strength in support and care - have confidence as we face challenges together. 

My team and I are responding to the worries of constituents including British Airways and Virgin employees, the self-employed and those on zero-hour contracts. Workers in sectors most affected are often financially and socially vulnerable. My team and I are work flat-out to support people facing difficulty. No one should face problems alone.

Constituents should get in contact immediately if they face issues pertinent to Coronavirus (COVID19) and the Government's response. This may include travel emergencies, business concerns or health matters. Important updates, guidance and news is shared below. We are receiving a significantly increased volume of correspondence from constituents in real need of assistance so please do check if your concern is touched upon there before getting in contact. Contact details are here.

Further explaining the current phase: 

Phase Two: Our roadmap to lift restrictions step-by- step

We are currently transitioning through Phase Two. There are three clear steps constituting Phase Two of the Government's Recovery Strategy. Each step may involve adding new adjustments to the existing restrictions or taking some adjustments further as shown below in the Government's roadmap. My team and I will keep this page updated at each step with relevant information and guidance.

 

We should not expect dramatic changes, rather, a slow transition as precautions prove successful and safer standards reached. For example, while reopening outdoor spaces and activities (subject to continued social distancing) comes earlier in the roadmap because the risk of transmission outdoors is significantly lower, it is likely that reopening indoor public spaces and leisure facilities (such as gyms and cinemas), premises whose core purpose is social interaction (such as nightclubs), venues that attract large crowds (like sports stadia), and personal care establishments where close contact is inherent (like beauty salons) may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.

Initially, the gap between steps will need to be several weeks, to allow sufficient time for monitoring. However, as the national monitoring systems become more precise and larger-scale, enabling a quicker assessment of the changes, this response time may reduce.

The situation is dynamic and dependent on our understanding and adherence to government guidelines.​ We share in responsibility for the health of those we love and care for.

 

As the UK exits phase one of the Government’s response, where the Government has sought to contain, delay, research and mitigate, it will move through two further phases:

  • Phase Two: Smarter Controls

    • Over the coming months, the Government will introduce a range of adjustments to current social distancing controls. Over time, social contact will be made less infectious by:

      • making such contact safer (including by redesigning public and workspaces, and those with symptoms self-isolating) to reduce the chance of infection per contact;

      • reducing infected people's social contact by using testing, tracing and monitoring of the infection to better focus restrictions according to risk; and

      • stopping hotspots developing by detecting infection outbreaks at a more localised level and rapidly intervening with targeted measures.

  • Phase Three: Reliable Treatment

    • ​As quickly as possible, the Government must move to a more sustainable solution, where the continued restrictions described above can be lifted altogether. To enable this, the Government must develop, trial, manufacture and distribute reliable treatments or vaccines as swiftly as possible.

 



 

Employment

  • People should continue to work from home (WFH)

  • If WFH is impossible and an individual's workplace is open, only then should they speak to their employer about the possibility of returning to the workplace with strict precautions and social distancing measures maintained

Schools and Childcare

  • Primary Schools have begun a phased re-opening from the 1st of June, beginning with the youngest and those about to move to Secondary School

    • Not all schools will have reopened yet, not all pupils will have been asked to return. The conditions for reopening vary from region to region, school to school, and parents are not obliged to have their children return should they not feel safe in doing so.​
    • Further easing of restrictions will come as Schools return in September.

  • Paid childcare (for example nannies and childminders) is allowed when necessary to enable parents to return to work.

  • Unpaid childcare: refer to support bubbles under 'socialising'

Travelling

  • When travelling everybody (including critical workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible

  • Commuters should seek safer travel by cycling, walking or driving

  • From the 15th of June, you must wear a face mask to use public transport.

    • Passengers should wear “the kind of face covering you can make at home” Surgical masks should be kept for medical uses.

    • These need to be worn on buses, coaches, trains, trams, ferries, underground trains and aircraft.

    • People exempt from new rules are young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties.

    • It will be a “condition of travel” to wear a face covering and people can be refused travel or even fined if they don’t follow the rule

      • A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.

      • They can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind your head

Socialising and Recreation

  • From the 4th of July:

    • People can spend time with others subject to: 

      • meeting in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors.

      • continuing to comply where possible with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres (6ft) away from people outside your household

      • exceptional hand hygiene, particularly with respect to shared surfaces

      • adhering to precautions put in place including closed playgrounds and exercise equipment

    • You can continue to meet outside in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines

    • You can stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household

  • People may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish

    • ​​For example, this would include angling and tennis

  • People may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance

  • Single adult households can form a “support bubble” with one other from the 14th of June onwards

    • Such households will be able to act as one household and can stay over at each other’s homes without having to adhere to the two-metre rule.

    • The aim of this  is to create support for isolated people and ensure no one is left alone when support and care networks already exist

  • It remains against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law

  • From the 11th of July:

    • Playgrounds, outdoor gyms and outdoor pools will be able to reopen

  • From the 25th of July

    • Indoor gyms, pools, sports facilities and leisure centres will be able to reopen

Shopping / Leisure

  • Businesses will be able to reopen from the below dates provided they follow the government's strict Covid-19 guidelines.

  • On 1st June, a very limited amount of businesses will be able to open, as the rest will follow suit on 15th June:

    • Essential shops continue to remain open, including pharmacies and food stores 

    • Garden stores and maintenance / DIY stores were opened earlier in May
    • From the 1st of June outdoor markets and car showrooms will be allowed to reopen with strict health and safety protocols
  • From the 15th of June, further non-essential businesses will be allowed to reopen including clothing and furniture stores, subject to strict protocols
    • Other industries reopening includes zoos and theme parks​, as well as outdoor attractions where households will remain in their cars, such as safari parks and drive-in cinemas
  • From the 4th of July:
    • additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open​
    • other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to reopen
  • From the 13th of July:
    • Beauty salons, nail bars, tattoo and massage studios and spas ​will be able to reopen.
  • From the 24th of July:
    • It is mandatory for face coverings to be worn in shops and supermarkets
  • Indoor gyms, clubs and other certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher​ will stay closed beyond the 4th of July
  • The advice remains that shopping should be conducted individually and with strict social distancing, especially when indoors

CURRENT REGULATIONS: Phase Two - Step Three

Below is a list of key changes for the current phase.

 

Important Points to Remember:

  • Clinically vulnerable people should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their households, but do not need to be shielded

  • Such people are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact, continuing to practise social distancing as proactively as they have been for the past two months

  • Those currently shielding those are advised that they can go outside once a day, with their household or, if they live alone, to meet one other person at a two-metre distance, GPs will provide notification and advice

  • Those shielding should not go out to work, to shop or visit friends in their homes

  • People who are classed as “extremely clinically vulnerable” have not seen restrictions lifted and must continue to shield themselves

  • Personal face coverings shouldn’t replace social distancing.

Advice on Staying Safe:

  • Keep your distance from people outside your household

  • Keep your hands and face as clean as possible

  • Avoid being face to face with people if they are outside your household

  • Avoid crowds

  • Wash your clothes regularly, with a special focus on what you have worn in public

  • Keep indoor places well ventilated to reduce transmission

  • If you can, wear a face-covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible

 

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the current recovery stage:

An important thing to consider at every stage is: not everyone is an obvious carrier of Covid-19. As we ease restrictions, treat everything with a slight caution as if the other person might be an invisible carrier. The risk is always present.

What if I don't want my child to go back to school yet?

  • For the time being, your child doesn't have to - it is your choice and no fines will be imposed. This may change in September at the end of the summer holiday period.

  • The regulations do not take a view on disagreements on safeguarding between parents (i.e. divorced). It would be for the parents of the child to discuss and come to an arrangement that was within the rights set out by their custody agreement.

Can I meet my parents and grandparents?

  • Yes, you can, as long as they are not in the “shielding” category. From the 4th of July, you can meet five other people at any one time, with a special focus on ensuring that social distancing is maintained - i.e. maintaining 2 metres between you and others. 

  • Over-70s can be among them, as long as they take “extra care” with social distancing, hand-washing and touching hard surfaces where the virus might linger.

Can I visit friends and family at their homes?

  • Yes, you can, if there are more than two households, you must stay outside. There is no rule that dictates whose garden you can or can’t meet in. However, if young children from different households are part of the group, they must not share paddling pools, climbing frames, slides or anything else that would encourage them to be closer than two metres to each other and touch hard surfaces. If there are only two households present, you can meet inside.

  • You do not always have to meet with the same household - you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case - even inside someone’s home - that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble.

What if you have to go through the house to get to the garden?

  • That’s fine, as long as you take care not to touch surfaces or “linger” indoors. Just go straight through the house into the garden and use your common sense.

Can I use the lavatory while I’m there?

  • Yes you can, as long as you pay special attention to washing your hands thoroughly and avoid touching things on the way through the house. Consider using a piece of tissue paper to open doors, flushing and touching taps.

What if I don’t have a garden?

  • Remaining outside is the critical point for larger gatherings - infection rates rise exponentially when indoors. You can use a patio or roof terrace, if you have one, but otherwise you will need to meet your friends and family in a park or open space. Indoor meetings are strictly prohibited. Otherwise, limit gatherings to two households.

What if it starts to rain?

  • We have been fortunate to have unseasonably good weather so far. If rain happens, consider using an umbrella and waiting for the rain to pass. Do not invite everyone indoors to keep dry, as this would be in breach of the rules and would risk infection.

Can I stay overnight?

  • Yes, so long as it remains between two households at a time. The risks rise exponentially the longer you stay around someone else and their environment and within large groups of multiple households.

Is there a limit on how far we can travel to see friends and family?

  • No, but you must not stay overnight if there are more than two households and likewise may only see them outdoors if with more than two households. Ensure you are all maintaining social distancing. You may wish to meet halfway should you both live too far away.

Does this mean I can play golf, tennis or other sports with more than one person now?

  • Groups of up to six from multiple households can meet at a time, as long as they observe social distancing rules. Two households of more than six people combined can meet.

  • Outdoor exercise classes with up to six people are also allowed, as long as they stay 2m apart from each other.

  • Any sporting activity that involves contact is still banned for non-elite sports, meaning you can kick a ball to each other but you can’t tackle.

Can I go shopping with friends and family?

  • The guidance remains that you should try to shop alone or, in some cases, with your household. If shopping indoors, you should remain with no more than one other household and adhere to social distancing where possible. 

  • The risk rises in close confines. Many shops are limiting the intake of customers, shopping in larger groups can be disruptive both for yourself and for shops. Be extra considerate and vigilant.

Can I hug my relatives?

  • If you love someone, keep them safe. Don't risk being the invisible transmitter or let them give you it unknowingly.

  • In other words, yes, you can. You should be wary of the risk of infection and be considerate of others. Be sure of each other's personal hygiene and consider where you are breathing whilst hugging (maybe briefly hold your breath).

 

Ongoing Updates and Relevant Information:

Full Explanation of the Government's Recovery Strategy

Updates:

Support For Constituents:

Advice:

Data and Information:

News:

Responses from Supermarket Chains:

Support for Businesses and Employees

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© 2019 Sir Peter Bottomley MP

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