As of July 19th, most Covid restrictions will be lifted and this means a return to normal life. However, some would argue that there is no normal after Covid. Although all government restrictions will be lifted, you may want to consider ways to keep yourself safe. Covid-19 will be part of our lives, possibly forever, and it’s up to individuals to make personal decisions to minimise risk. It’s true that all activities will now carry a Covid risk, but it’s no longer beneficial for people to stay in their homes. There are actions you can take to protect yourself and others around you. We will go through the ways you can keep yourself safe and stop the spread of the virus.
What’s happening to Restrictions on July 19th?
Most of the legal restrictions surround Covid-19 will be lifted on July 19. According to the government website this is what will be happening on July 19th;
- You will not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with.
- There will be no limits on the number of people you can meet.
- It will no longer be necessary for the Government to instruct people to work from home. Employers can start to plan a return to workplaces.
- Face coverings will no longer be required by law in any setting.
- There will no longer be limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing.
- There will no longer be restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship
What do businesses and venues have to do?
All the businesses that have been made to stay closed throughout the pandemic will now be allowed to open. This includes nightclubs, discos and adult entertainment venues. While all capacity limits will be lifted for sports, entertainment and business events. This also means that pubs, cafes and restaurants will no longer have to provide table service and follow social distancing rules. Although there will be no legal reason for venues to provide any Covid protection, they should implement protocols to keep customers safe. Read about Keeping Yourself Safe at Big Events in our previous blog.
So, what can you do to keep yourself and others safe when restrictions lift?
Although you are not legally required to do so, you may want to continue to wear a face covering in public venues. Face coverings help slow the spread of coronavirus by preventing droplets in the air from spreading, a known way that Covid-19 spreads.
Use the track and trace app
The reason you use the NHS track and Trace app is because it lets you know if you have been in close contact with anyone that has since tested positive for Covid, regardless of whether you know each other. The app is free to download and the majority of venues, should have a way for you to check in using the app when you arrive.
Fresh air and Ventilation
When a person has Covid-19 and they talk, cough or breath, they will release droplets and aerosols that can be inhaled by another person. Fresh are blows these particles away, so sitting near a window or making sure there is sufficient ventilation in an indoor venue will help stop the spread of coronavirus. You can also make use of your extractor fan and leave it running to improve the ventilation in your home when you have guests. Basically, the more fresh air you let into your home the less likely you are to inhale infectious particles.
Testing at Home
It’s well known that 1 in 3 people that have Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus without knowing it. Rapid lateral flow testing is available to everyone, for free, so you are able to test twice a week if you want to. The early detection of the virus will enable people to self-isolate quicker, which will slow the spread of the virus.
Washing your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser on a regular basis is a good way to reduce your risk of catching coronavirus. The Gov.uk website say that washing or sanitising your hands after the following;
- after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose
- before you eat or handle food
- after coming into contact with surfaces touched by many others, such as handles, handrails and light switches
- after coming into contact with shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms
- when you return home
It’s advisable to touch your face as little as possible. Your hands touch a lot of different surfaces during the day and this is where you might pick up Covid, as surfaces can become infected with Covid-19. So,
if you touch an infected surface and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose, you can become infected with the virus. But washing or sanitising your hands after touching a surface will reduce your risk of transferring the infection to yourself.
Covid is also transmitted by coughing and sneezing, so to protect others you need to cover your mouth every time you sneeze or cough. An uncovered sneeze or cough will greatly increase the chance of those around you catching the virus. Government advice on this is;
- Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze.
- If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand.
- Dispose of tissues into a rubbish bag and immediately wash your hands.
No Close Contact
One of the major ways Covid spreads is through close contact with someone who is infected. They spread the virus through; speaking, coughing or sneezing, that could then be inhaled by you. This is why we have all been following social distancing guidelines and but because the government are no longer enforcing these doesn’t mean you have to stop. You might want to consider remaining 2 metres apart, especially if you are spending a prolonged time with them.
GETTING THE VACCINE
The most effective way to protect yourself from Covid-19 is getting yourself vaccinated. Everyone over the age of 18 can now get their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. If you haven’t booked your jab yet then go onto the NHS website to book.
Living With Covid-19
Even though restrictions are being lifted, that doesn’t mean Covid-19 is gone. The virus is something that we will have to get used t and deal with, much like the flu. We all have a roll in stopping the spread of the Coronavirus and taking step such as the ones we have explained will protect you and those around you.