Government Guidance and Regulations


Introduction

The final stage of the government’s roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions took place on the 19 July. Below you will find information on how the rules have changed for step 4.

This page also contains national guidance on COVID-secure workplaces, engaging with NHS Test & Trace, workplace testing, international travel restrictions and the government support available for businesses.


National Coronavirus Restrictions

Changes from July 19

  • There are no limits on how many people can meet but you should meet outdoors where possible
  • Social distancing measures have been removed with individuals no longer required to comply with the 1m+ rule (with limited exceptions such as hospitals)
  • Nightclubs are permitted to re-open and all capacity limits on events have been lifted
  • Hospitality businesses are no longer required to offer table service only
  • Face coverings are no longer mandated by law but the government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded spaces such as public transport
  • The government directive to work from home (where possible) has been lifted but employers are encouraged to oversee a gradual return for workers over the summer

High risk settings such as nightclubs and large events are encouraged to make use of the NHS COVID Pass which allows people entry on the basis that they have either received both of their vaccinations, or shown a recent negative COVID test or proof of natural immunity.

Click here for full details

Changes from August 16

  • People who are double jabbed or aged under 18 will not be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case as long as they received their final dose of an MHRA-approved vaccine in the UK vaccination programme at least 14 days prior to contact with a positive case.
  • Double jabbed individuals and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus and for variants of concern. People can order a PCR home test online or by calling 119, or going to a test site.
  • As double jabbed people identified as close contacts are still at risk of being infected, people are advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and limit contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable. They will not be required to self-isolate while they wait for the results of the PCR test.
  • Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age in order to break onwards chains of transmission. Meanwhile anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and get a PCR test, and remain in isolation until the result comes back.

Click here for full details


National Coronavirus Autumn and Winter Plan

The PM has announced the Government’s Autumn and Winter Plan to tackle an expected rise in Covid-19 infection rates. A series of restrictions could be introduced in England if the NHS comes under significant pressure. There are two plans in mind referred to as Plan A and Plan B.

Plan A

The government says the current plan has five pillars in order to prevent any further restrictions from needing to be implemented:

  • An enhanced vaccination programme - vaccines will be offered to 12- to 15-year-olds, on the advice of the chief medical officer, and a booster programme will offer a third dose for over-50s to give the most vulnerable better protection.
  • Testing and isolation - A number of restrictions will remain in place. Those who test positive for Covid must quarantine by law for 10 days, and the same rule applies to over-18s who have not been double-vaccinated when they come into contact with a positive case. School bubbles have been replaced with an enhanced testing programme, which the government says it expects to “continue for the rest of this term.” Free rapid lateral flow tests will continue to be available for the general public.
  • Borders - Restrictions on travel still apply, including testing before arrival in the UK and varying requirements in the days afterwards or mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals from high-risk “red list” countries. Ministers expect to ease some testing requirements from low-risk countries.
  • NHS resources - There will be a £5.4bn cash injection to the NHS in England to support the Covid-19 response over the next six months, previously announced by Sajid Javid though this includes £1bn to help tackle backlogs in elective procedures. Vaccinating healthcare staff is also a key component and the government is likely to order that Covid and flu vaccinations become mandatory for frontline health and wider social care staff in England.
  • Self-protection – Continued focus on hand-washing and ventilation, as well as mask-wearing in riskier spaces and encouraging businesses to communicate to workers to stay at home if they feel unwell.

Plan B

The government says it is “possible that plan A is not sufficient to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS and that further measures [will be] required” though it has not set out the precise thresholds to trigger the following new measures.

Plan B would include:

  • Vaccine passports - Currently, the NHS Covid pass available on the app will certify individuals based on vaccination, testing or natural immunity status. But if plan B is implemented, it will change to display full vaccination only for over-18s. The government advises businesses to make contingency plans, saying the change could be introduced “at short notice”.
    Businesses requiring the passport would include:
    o All nightclubs. o Indoor crowded settings with 500 or more attenders.
    o Outdoor crowded settings with 4,000 or more attenders, such as festivals.
    o Any settings with 10,000 or more attenders, such as large sports stadiums.
  • Advice to work from home – currently at the discretion of individual employers
  • Mask-wearing - If plan B is implemented, the government will bring back the legal requirement to wear face coverings in “some settings”, the plan says, likely to be on transport and in shops.

Read the Autumn and Winter Plan 2021 here.


International Travel

From Monday 4 October 2021, the rules for international travel to England will change from the red, amber, green traffic light system to a single red list of countries and simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world. The rules for travel from countries and territories not on the red list will depend on an individual’s vaccination status.
The system is designed to open up international travel while protecting the public from international Covid-19 variants.

The system works as follows:

  • Red: Passengers arriving in the UK from red list countries will have to complete a passenger locator form, and pay for a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, as well as a pre-departure test and two Covid-19 tests, to be taken on days two and eight of their arrival in England
  • Rest of the World: Passengers who have had both Covid-19 vaccinations (at least 14 days prior) will not need to isolate on return to the UK or take a pre-departure test before leaving any country not on the red list. They will need to book and pay for a day two Covid-19 test before arrival in the UK, complete a passenger locator form, and take the day two test within 48 hours of arrival.

It is anticipated that these new travel rules will remain in place at least until the new year.

See full details here


Workplace and Community Testing

The government’s workplace testing programme, whereby businesses could sign up to receive free lateral flow tests for their employees, is now closed.

Businesses now have the following options available to them:


Government Support For Businesses

The GBCC are committed to keeping businesses and charities up to date with the latest support being made available by the government to help businesses recover from the disruption caused by Covid-19.

So far, the government has announced a number of support measures including various finance and grant schemes and the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Please click the link below for a list of the government support measures announced to date.

DOWNLOAD OUR BRIEFING ON THE LATEST SUPPORT


Working Safely During Coronavirus: How to be COVID-19 Secure

The UK Government have issued detailed guidance for employers with certain types of premises on how to be COVID-19 Secure and safely return to, or scale up the number of employees in, the workplace.

It includes a number of detailed measures on social distancing and hygiene in the workplace. Employers must use this advice to:

  • Carry out a Covid-19 Risk Assessment in ‘consultation with unions and workers’
  • Demonstrate that they are doing everything reasonably practicable to minimise the risk to workers
  • Display a five-point notice or declaration in the workplace stating they have undertaken a risk assessment and are taking steps to protect their workforce

For formal Government advice on being COVID-19 Secure Click Here.


NHS Test & Trace

The government is encouraging businesses to continue collecting customer information for the NHS Test & Trace Service which aims to trace the spread of the virus and isolate new infections. However, firms are no longer legally required to do so.

Businesses can continue to help support the NHS Test & Trace Service by::

  • Keeping a temporary record of staff shift patterns, customers and visitors in compliance with GDPR and dispose of securely after 21 days
  • Collecting the following information from customers and visitors: name, address, date/time of visit and phone number
  • Displaying an official NHS QR code poster at all entrances to the venue so that customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app
  • Sharing the data with the NHS Test and Trace Service if they get in contact

Click here for the government guidance and here for a business toolkit.


Resources

Official government advice on working safely during COVID-19:

Click Here

For business briefings
and Q&As:

Click Here

Making your workplace COVID-secure during the coronavirus pandemic

Click Here


Resources & Guides

Video

In this webinar, chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Martin Temple, around coronavirus (COVID-19) discusses how his organisation is supporting business. 

View Here

Video

In this webinar, BHSF provide advice and guidance to businesses on how to provide a Covid-secure workplace to get employees back to work.

View Here


Get In Touch

Coronavirus Support