Boris Johnson has given hope that the rules on social distancing could be lifted by the end of the year.
In the most recent update on his roadmap to ending lockdown, the Prime Minister said that he “hopes we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions from November at the earliest, possibly in time for Christmas”.
He told a press conference on July 17 that the Government is “hoping for the best and planning for the worst”.
In recent weeks the measures have already started to ease in a shift away from the 2m rule.
These measures now include a new “one-metre-plus” rule for all venues, including shops, restaurants, schools, offices, and parks, in an overhaul designed to unlock large swathes of the economy.
These rules will allow people to remain a metre away from others if they take additional measures to protect themselves, such as wearing a mask or meeting outdoors.
Below, we explain the existing rules in detail, but these do not currently apply to all parts of England. On July 30, changes were made to parts of northern England after a spike in cases.
Read more: North of England lockdown: what are the rules for Greater Manchester, Bradford and Blackburn?
What are the new rules on self-isolating?
The Government has announced that individuals who test positive for coronavirus or show symptoms must now self isolate for 10 days instead of seven.
The UK Chief Medical Officers have said that evidence – although limited – has strengthened, suggesting that individuals who are mildly ill with Covid-19 and are recovering have a real possibility of infectiousness between 7 and 9 days after illness onset.
It is hoped that by extending the isolation period, individuals who have been shielding will be offered additional protection, which will prove vital as autumn and winter approaches.
What about social distancing?
Two households of any size are now able to meet in any setting – indoors or outdoors. That does not mean they must always be the same household, although meetings of multiple households indoors are not recommended.
The two-metre rule has been reduced to one-metre social distancing, plus mitigation. The Prime Minister has said that the risk at ‘one-metre-plus’ is “broadly equivalent to the risk at two metres”.