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Covid-19 Recovery Brief: Thursday, April 22

Covid-19 Recovery Brief: Thursday, April 22

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

The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed a package of relaxations to the Covid-19 restrictions

  • The proposed relaxations will happen in three stages.
    • April 23 – Driving lessons and tests can resume, outdoor visitor attractions can open, outdoor sports squad training can resume as well as competitive organised sport with participant numbers not exceeding 100 and with no spectators permitted.
    • April 30 – All retail may reopen, an increased number of people permitted to meet in domestic settings outdoors to 15 from no more than 3 households, reopening of unlicensed and licensed premises and permitting individual activities in gyms and swimming pools.
    • May 24 – Reopening the remainder of tourist accommodation, allow visits to indoor domestic settings, reopening of indoor visitor attractions and resumption of indoor group exercise and training in numbers limited to suit the venue.
    • The next formal review of the Coronavirus regulations under the Pathway out of Restrictions will be carried out on May 13, 2021.

The Scottish Government has confirmed that from Monday 26 April, Scotland will enter level 3 lockdown

  • It means that the following can now reopen:
    • Hospitality venues such as cafés, pubs and restaurants.
    • Tourist accommodation.
    • Non-essential retail outlets and close contact services such as beauty salons.
    • Indoor attractions and public buildings such as galleries, museums and libraries and gyms.
    • Adults on the shielding list can return to the workplace, if they cannot work from home, while children who have been shielding can return to school.
    • Non-essential work inside people’s homes – such as painting, decorating or repairing – will be permitted, subject to mitigations.
    • Non-essential informal childcare will resume.
    • Driving lessons and tests can take place, while gyms and swimming pools can reopen for individual exercise.
    • The attendance limit for funerals and weddings – and related events such as receptions – will increase to 50.
    • Cafés, pubs and restaurants can resume full outdoor service, subject to local licensing, and serve food indoors without alcohol until 8pm.
    • Takeaways to resume normal service, with physical distancing and face masks in premises.
    • Holyrood also stated that, should cases remain low, Scotland could enter Level 2 on Monday 17 May.

Other news

  • The first in-person, live business event happening in the UK since the first national lockdown will take place in Liverpool next week – for up to 1,000 people. The Change Business for Good conference will be monitored as part of the government’s Events and Research Programme. There will be no social distancing requirements, no compulsory mask-wearing and no vaccine certification needed. Instead, delegates will be asked to fill in a consent form and questionnaire, and to take lateral flow tests before and after the event.
  • In Wales from 24 April, six people from different households will be able to meet outdoors in (not including children under 11 years of age or carers), with the ‘up to two households’ restrictions lifted. From 26 April, outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen.
  • The Department of Transport has said coronavirus passports for UK residents travelling internationally are being worked on as a “priority”. The Government is working on a scheme that will enable UK residents travelling overseas to prove to officials at their destination they have been vaccinated or recently tested. Foreign holidays could be permitted for people living in England from as early as 17 May.
  • According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) vacancies rates rose by 16% in the UK between February and March, redundancies fell at the fastest pace on record and unemployment dropped from 5 per cent to 4.9 per cent. About five million people remain on furlough.
  • Driving tests have now been permitted to restart in England and Wales.
  • India to be added to the ‘red list’. From 04:00 BST on 23 April, most people who have travelled from India in the last 10 days will be refused entry to the UK. British or Irish passport holders, or people with UK residence rights, will be allowed in but must quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for 10 days.

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