On 19 July 2021, the Government will remove outstanding legal restrictions on social contact, life events and open the remaining closed settings. The Government will instead enable people to make informed decisions about how to manage the risk to themselves and others.
The Government will provide guidance to the public and to businesses on how they can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the risk of a resurgence which puts the NHS under unsustainable pressure.
At step 4:
- All remaining limits on social will be removed and there will be no more restrictions on how many people can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors
- All settings will be able to open, including nightclubs
- Large events, such as music concerts and sporting events can resume without any limits on attendance or social distancing requirements
- All restrictions on life events such as weddings, funerals, will be removed, including the remaining restrictions on the number of attendees
- Regulations that place COVID-secure requirements on businesses, including table service, and distancing between tables, will be lifted
- ‘Working Safely’ guidance will be updated to provide examples of sensible precautions that employers can take to reduce risk in their workplaces. Employers should take account of this guidance in preparing the risk assessments they are already required to make under pre-pandemic health and safety rules
- Businesses will be encouraged to ask staff and customers to clean their hands regularly and clean surfaces that people touch regularly. The Government will provide guidance on how businesses can reduce unnecessary contact in the workplace, where it is practical. Operators will still be encouraged to use outside space where practical, and to consider the supply of fresh air to indoor spaces. Carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors could be used to help identify where a space is poorly ventilated with businesses encouraged to take steps to improve ventilation if CO2 readings are consistently high.
Businesses still have a legal duty to manage risks. They should review their health and safety risk assessments, including the risk of COVID-19, and should take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks identified.
Working Safely guidance sets out a range of mitigations businesses should consider including:
- Cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly;
- Identifying poorly ventilated areas in the venue and taking steps to improve air flow;
- Ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue
- Communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place.
If your business has been closed, consider the water system management and the risk of Legionella – the total or partial closure of businesses raises the need for effective controls to maintain the safety of water systems. Further information is available here (external link).
We would advise businesses to regularly review the measures they have in place to ensure they can continue to operate safely and in line the latest government guidance.
NHS Track and Trace
Businesses will be encouraged to display QR codes for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, to support NHS Test and Trace, although it will no longer be a legal requirement.
The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings.
COVID-19 spreads through the air by droplets and aerosols that are exhaled from the nose and mouth of an infected person. The government expects and recommends that face coverings are worn in crowded and enclosed spaces, such as public transport, and when mixing with people you do not normally meet.
Wearing a face covering will reduce your risk and the risk to others.
Social distancing rules will be lifted.
Staff COVID Testing
To help your business stay open, we strongly advise that you encourage your employees to take rapid lateral flow coronavirus tests twice a week. These tests will pick up any positive cases and any employee that tests positive can self-isolate straightaway, and not pass the virus on to the rest of your workforce or your customers, risking closure.
Around 1 in 3 people have coronavirus without displaying any symptoms, so the expansion of asymptomatic testing will help to identify any positive cases of COVID-19 and will help to manage the spread of the virus. Testing is still important you have had you COVID 19 vaccine(s) to help reduce onward transmission.
You can encourage your employees to visit a rapid test centre twice a week.
If your employees are required to self-isolate, you must not allow them to continue to work in any setting other than their place of isolation.
Request a home test kit for businesses
There are 2 options available:
- If you are not registered with the national programme of workplace testing you can collect a supply of home test kits for staff from our current test sites as follows:
- Leigh South Community Centre, 32 Hope Carr Road, Leigh, WN7 3ET.
- Open Monday - Friday 9am - 4:30pm
- Progress House, Westwood Park, Wigan, WN3 4HH.
- Open Monday - Friday 9am - 4:30pm
- If collection from a test site is not possible, we can offer a delivery service direct to your business. You will need to email C19Testing@wigan.gov.uk with the following details to request your kits:
- Contact name
- Phone number
- Number of staff to be tested
- Business address including postcode (where the kits will be delivered).
Full instructions are provided with the kits. Staff are required to input their individual details and results onto the national web portal provided within the kit each time they complete a test. If you have any further queries, please email C19Testing@wigan.gov.uk.
Contact the regulatory services team online for further advice (external link).