Covid rules from 19th July: What has changed?

July 20, 2021


As the news continues to report an increase in cases over a 3-month trend, the rise in cases is being driven by the Delta variant, which spreads faster than the previously most common Kent variant (now named Alpha).

However, England has now lifted all legal restrictions on everyday life, with an end to social distancing rules and no limits on numbers meeting indoors or outdoors.

Legal requirements to wear face coverings have also ended. However, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan says they remain compulsory on London’s transport network, including tubes, buses, trams, rail, and taxis.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged caution, saying the pandemic is not over and that deaths and hospitalisations from coronavirus would continue.

Sajid Javid has said although cases will continue to rise, he did not “believe that infection rates will put unsustainable pressure on the NHS”.


What has now changed in England?

Social distancing

  • No limits on how many people can meet
  • 1m-plus guidance removed (except in some places like hospitals and passport control when entering)
  • Face coverings no longer required by law, although the government still “expects and recommends” them in crowded and enclosed spaces
  • Some shops and transport operators will still require masks

Events and gatherings

  • Nightclubs can reopen
  • Pubs and restaurants no longer table-service only
  • No limits on guests at weddings and funerals
  • No limits on people attending concerts, theatres, or sports events
  • No restrictions on communal worship


  • Guidance recommending against travel to amber list countries removed
  • Under-18s and fully vaccinated adults no longer have to self-isolate after visiting amber list countries – although those returning from France to the UK must still quarantine for 10 days

Other changes

  • Limits on visitors to care homes will be removed
  • From 16 August, most Covid restrictions in schools – including “bubbles” – will end
  • From the same date, fully vaccinated adults will not need to self-isolate after contact with a positive case


What guidance remains in place in England?

People should continue to meet others outside where possible.

Businesses such as nightclubs – and large events – will be encouraged to use the NHS Covid Pass to check people are fully vaccinated. However, they will not legally have to do so.

People working from home will be encouraged to return to the workplace gradually.


What about areas of England with high numbers of variant cases?

There are 12 areas of England where the Delta variant is spreading quickly.

These are Bedford, Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Brighton and Hove, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Greater Manchester, Lancashire (county council area), Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral), Oxford City and Warrington.

The government says if you live in one of these areas you should read local Covid-19 information and advice.

Most areas remind residents to follow hands, face, and space rules:

  • Washing hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and use sanitiser
  • Wear a face covering in busy places
  • Meet friends and family outside
  • Keep 2m (6ft) apart from people you do not live with


Taken from the BBC News Website

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