The Government has announced new measures to tackle Covid-19.
From Monday 14th September (in England) there are many changes coming into effect which involve: reducing groups to no more than 6; legal responsibilities to keep customer information; newly appointed Covid-19 Marshalls; and apparently fines to be levied against hospitality venues that fail to ensure their premises remain COVID Secure.
There is more detail promised before, and in readiness for Monday, but I suggest we need to amend (and are seen to be amending) our practices to ensure that we are keeping to a maximum of 6 in one group (although there are some acceptable exceptions).
The changes are outlined in this link from the gov.uk site and highlighted in the following extract:
• From Monday 14 September, you must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes. This change will simplify and clarify the rules on social gatherings, so they are easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce. There will be a limited number of exemptions. COVID-19 Secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups. This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather together. Education and work settings are unaffected, and organised team sports will still be able to proceed, as will weddings and funerals up to 30. From Monday, this limit will be enforceable in law.
• Businesses will have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace. From 18 September, it will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, and keep this for 21 days. Core COVID-19 Secure requirements will be mandated for hospitality businesses, and egregious breaches enforced. The government has also published simplified COVID-19 Secure guidance, available here.
• The government will support Local Authorities and police forces to respond to breaches of COVID-19 Secure guidelines. We will launch a register of newly qualified and recently retired Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) so that Local Authorities can recruit more quickly and fill any gaps. In addition, we will introduce COVID-19 Secure Marshals to help local authorities support social distancing in towns and city centres.
• The government will review plans to pilot larger audiences in venues this month. Planned sports pilot events will be limited to smaller, safer numbers, with strict conditions to ensure social distancing, and will not take place in areas where incidence is high. We will review our intention to return audiences to stadia and conference centres from 1 October.
• The government will restrict the opening hours of premises, initially in local lockdown areas, with the option of national action in the future. This has been introduced in Bolton, following a steep rise in cases, and will seek to restrict activities that may lead to a spread in the virus.
These measures apply to England – but there may be different rules if you live in an area under local lockdown and you should check those rules here. If you are in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, different rules may apply.
For Wales there is no change at the moment although these are the local lockdown details for Caerphilly.
Every cloud has a silver lining and there was mention today from the Prime Minister of a ‘moonshot’ testing programme.
This seems to stem from the Southampton trial which was apparently successful and could lead to mass testing with 20 to 90 minute results.
Chris Whitty seemed reluctant to confirm it but the potential of a ‘passport to normality’ for anyone with a negative test has to be good news.