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Covid-19 Impact Brief: Monday, February 22

Covid-19 Impact Brief: Monday, February 22

Each week, our Public Policy team will be reporting on the latest weekly news in the evolving situation.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced a roadmap out of lockdown for England

The Prime Minister divided the road map into four steps and confirmed that there will not be a return to the tier system:

  • Step 1 will happen no earlier than 8 March:
    • All students return to schools and colleges, and school clubs can resume. Secondary school students will be required to wear masks in class as well as communal areas.
    • On the same day people can meet one other person outside for recreation, not just exercise and care home residents will be allowed one regular named visitor.
    • On 29 March outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two households allowed, including meeting in private gardens.
    • On the same day outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts and outdoor swimming pools allowed to reopen; organised outdoor sports can resume.
  • Step two will happen no earlier than 12 April:
    • Non-essential retail, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries and museums can re-open.
    • Outdoor hospitality in pubs and restaurants allowed with households or rule-of-six.
    • Most outdoor settings reopen such as zoos and theme parks.
    • Gyms and indoor swimming pools open.
    • Self-catering holiday accommodation and camp sites reopen.
  • Step three will happen no earlier than 17 May:
    • Most outdoors social contact rules lifted, up to limit of 30 people.
    • Mixing indoors allowed for two households, but rule-of-six for indoor hospitality and elsewhere.
    • Cinemas, soft play centres, rest of accommodation sector, hotels, indoor exercise classes return.
    • Performances and sporting events resume – larger performances with venues 1,000+ or half full will be allowed indoors and outdoors 4,000 capacity or half full (whichever lowest).
    • In very largest outdoor seated venues such as football stadiums up to 10,000 people allowed to attend (or 1/4 full whichever is lowest).
    • Up to 30 people can attend weddings, receptions, funerals, wakes.
  • Step four will happen no earlier than 21 June:
    • All legal limits on social contact removed with ambition to reopen final closed sectors of the economy such as nightclubs.
    • Hope to lift restrictions on large events and performances.
    • Hope to remove all limits on weddings and other “life events”.

Devolved Governments in Wales and Northern Ireland have announced plans for a limited easing to lockdown

  • The Northern Ireland Executive has announced an extension of their lockdown measures until 1st April, while Wales has announced the extension of their lockdown until 15 March.
    • In Northern Ireland Children aged four to seven will return to school as planned on 8th March, resuming remote learning on 22nd March to allow the return of older students.
    • In Wales, children aged three to seven resumed school today and the Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams has said  all pupils in Wales could be back in school after Easter, with those in years 11 to 13 and students in further education to be tested twice weekly for Covid.
    • In Wales, four people from two different households are now able to meet outdoors for socially distanced local exercise.
    • From March 1, licensed wedding venues in Wales will be a to re-open but only to perform wedding and civil partnership ceremonies.
    • In Northern Ireland from 8th March, baby equipment, clothing, footwear and electrical goods will be available for Click and Collect.
    • The Northern Ireland Executive will publish its pathway to recovery plans on 1 March, with a further review of restrictions set to take place on 18th March.
    • Meanwhile, Scottish First Minister will set out it’s road map to unlock on 23 February. Sturgeon confirmed Scotland will return to the geographic levels system after lockdown is lifted.

Other news

  • Research from Scotland suggests that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines reduce hospital admissions by up to 85% and 94% respectively.
  • Northern Ireland Communities minister has announced an extension to the protection for private renters from eviction to September 2021. Landlords are to give tenants a 12 week notice to quit period before seeking a court order to begin proceedings to evict and therefore reduce the possibility of tenants in the private rented sector becoming homeless.
  • The Northern Ireland Executive has announced an extra £754,00 for foster carers, totalling £1.39m since the start of the pandemic. The funding follows support provided to carers in June 2020.It equates to an extra 20% of the weekly food and household elements of the allowance foster carers received for children in their care for a limited period.

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