COVID rules will be changing from today (July 19) as England moves to step 4 in its roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions

On Monday July 12, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the plans but urged the public to adopt a “cautious approach”.

The government has confirmed legal limits on social contact will be removed.

However, people should continue to reduce the risk of transmission and follow recommended safety measures.

'Using own judgement'

New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne said: “I am delighted that all regulation (with the exception of international travel) ceases and we are trusted to use our judgement to take sensible precautions without being ordered what to do.”

Social distancing

The one metre plus rule will be scrapped. However, there are still some cases where it will remain in place.

Social distancing will be still be required in health and care settings.

The rule of six indoors and 30 outdoors will no longer be in place and the wearing of face masks will no longer mandatory but recommended in crowded areas and enclosed spaces such as on public transport.

Large events

Businesses such as nightclubs will be allowed to reopen, and larger events, performances and life events including weddings will be able to take place without any limits.


Schools are entitled to end their bubble system from 19 July should they choose to. However, some local schools may choose to continue with their current arrangements until the end of term.

Pubs and hospitality

For pubs and hospitality venues, table service will no longer be required.

However, The George in Fordingbridge has said it is still keeping some restrictions in place to ensure the safety of staff and customers and will continue table service.

Staff will still wear face masks and customers will also be encouraged to wear them when moving around the premises.

Caroline Roylance, who runs the pub, said: “We’re basically going to carry on doing exactly what we’ve been doing since we reopened last July but without the temperature check.” She said customers “felt safe” with the measures already in place, and added: “It is working well for us and our customers are happy.”

Gerald Pettley, who runs the Ship Inn in Fordingbridge, says the majority of staff will continue to wear masks.

"We will make sure there are signs everywhere asking people to be aware and sensitive to other people's feelings about social distancing. If people are overcrowding we will make sure they move away.

He felt it was a case of "testing the water to see how people behave".

"At the moment you haven't quite got the footfall that would normally walk around the town. It will be interesting to see what happens on Monday," he added.

Gerald says people are starting to get more confidence about coming out but admits although the food side of the business is down the bar has "held its own" while the pub accommodation is benefitting from staycations.

He added: "The bookings are looking good throughout the summer."

Track and trace

Caroline said the George has seen an increase in the number of bookings being cancelled as people receive notifications to self isolate from the track and trace app.

"We are now getting about five or six tables a day cancelling because someone's got pinged whereas when we first opened it was no-one. It just shows it is working. Now it is working are they going to stop using it?"

Caroline says “more clarity” is needed over what is happening with the QR track and trace check-in.

However, a concern is if staff have to self isolate due to track and trace notifications.

Gerald, of The Ship Inn, added: "If we have three staff that have to go into ten days isolation that is a third of our workforce."

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