21st February 2022 – Member Update
COVID-19 UPDATE – ENGLAND
I am sure members will not have failed to see that the Government has been, over the weekend, trailing today’s announcement of the end of all legal restrictions associated with the Covid 19 pandemic. Here are the details. I have italicised those most relevant to businesses. This applies to England only. Certain restrictions remain in place in Scotland and Wales.
From 24 February, the Government will:
- Remove the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test. Adults and children who test positive will continue to be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least 5 full days and then continue to follow the guidance until they have received 2 negative test results on consecutive days.
- No longer ask fully vaccinated close contacts and those aged under 18 to test daily for 7 days, and remove the legal requirement for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to self-isolate.
- End self-isolation support payments, national funding for practical support and the medicine delivery service will no longer be available.
- End routine contact tracing. Contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate or advised to take daily tests.
- End the legal obligation for individuals to tell their employers when they are required to self-isolate.
- Revoke The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations.
From 24 March:
- the COVID-19 provisions within Statutory Sick Pay and Employment and Support Allowance regulations will end. People with COVID-19 may still be eligible, subject to the normal conditions of entitlement.
From 1 April, the Government will:
- update guidance setting out the ongoing steps that people with COVID-19 should take to minimise contact with other people.
- no longer provide free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England.
- remove the current guidance on domestic voluntary COVID-status certification and will no longer recommend that certain venues use the NHS COVID Pass.
- remove the health and safety requirement for every employer to explicitly consider COVID-19 in their risk assessments
- replace the existing set of ‘Working Safely’ guidance with new public health guidance
- consult with employers and businesses to ensure guidance continues to support them to manage the risk of COVID-19 in workplaces
- continue to promote and support good ventilation. Employers and businesses should continue identifying poorly ventilated spaces and take steps to improve fresh air flow
Going Forward , the Government’s Plan is based on Four Principles:
- Living with COVID-19:
removing domestic restrictions while encouraging safer behaviours through public health advice, in common with longstanding ways of managing most other respiratory illnesses
- Protecting people most vulnerable to COVID-19
vaccination guided by Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice, and deploying targeted testing
- Maintaining resilience
ongoing surveillance, contingency planning and the ability to reintroduce key capabilities such as mass vaccination and testing in an emergency
- Securing innovations and opportunities
Incorporating benefits and advances from the Covid response including investment in life sciences.
Within these four principles, the government will undertake a range of measure including the following ones which impact tourism businesses:
- continue to be guided by JCVI advice on deploying vaccinations. Subject to JCVI advice, further vaccinations (boosters) may be recommended for people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 this autumn and, ahead of that, a spring booster for groups JCVI consider to be at particularly high risk.
- move away from deploying regulations and requirements in England and replace specific interventions for COVID-19 with public health measures and guidance.
- maintain resilience and infrastructure required to scale up a proportionate response to any future variants
- only consider implementing new public health measures at the border in extreme circumstances where it is necessary to protect public health.
- set out the contingency approach and toolbox of measures in more detail ahead of Easter when reviewing The Health Protection (Coronavirus ,International Travel and Operator Liability) (England) Regulations 2021. The Government will continue to work with the industry on contingency planning.
- work further with international partners to discuss how cooperation and alignment of border and travel health policies can be improved. This approach will identify opportunities for standardisation to support global efforts to detect, manage, and respond to new health threats as well as seek to deliver as smooth an experience as possible for passengers, helping to support the recovery of the international travel sector.