As of 16th August most legal restrictions regarding covid have been lifted. However although many people have been fully vaccinated, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19 and we are still in the third wave of this pandemic in the UK. COVID-19 will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, so we need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others.
As COVID restrictions are lifted, we can keep showing kindness and looking out for each other by continuing to take precautions in certain situations and following the five big things:
This will help to protect vulnerable people and support those who look after us and keep us going by delivering important services, from health and care to public transport and shops.
The guidance on this page is specifically to support local community and voluntary groups to make informed choices about their group, activity, or building, as of government advice beginning July 19. (For other resources for groups, such as Covid Risk Assessment templates, leaflet templates, funding, signposting to other services etc, click here)
Groups & organisations are encouraged to send a representative to join the Covid Champions programme. This ensures you have a good understanding of the coronavirus and how to stop the spread, you have access to medical professionals and local advice, you will get all relevant updates and changes, and you have access to regular catch-up sessions at which groups are able to feedback any concerns or questions. It is a good way to ensure due diligence when preparing to re-open a service and to keep your community / group as safe as possible.
National restrictions are ending but COVID-19 isn’t. Our local case rates remain high, and are unfortunately expected to increase as restrictions ease. You will wish to carefully consider how to support your volunteers and your participants / community members. Joining the Covid Champions programme means you can discuss your situation with our trainers and others in the community and get answers to queries, to help make the best decision.
While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. This is why we are keeping in place key protections:
- testing when you have symptoms and targeted asymptomatic testing in education, high risk workplaces and to help people manage their personal risk.
- isolating when positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace. See below for changes to self-isolation rules from 16th August
- border quarantine: for all arriving from red list countries and for those people not fully vaccinated arriving from amber list countries.
- cautious guidance for individuals, businesses and the vulnerable whilst prevalence is high including:
- whilst Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, Government would expect and recommend a gradual return over the summer
- Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport;
- being outside or letting fresh air in
- minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
- encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high risk settings. The Government will work with organisations where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of this. If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the Government will consider mandating certification in certain venues at a later date.
Changes to Self-Isolation rules from 16th August
- From 16th August the self isolation requirements have changed. People with symptoms are still legally required to get a PCR test and self isolate for 10 days if they test positive. They must isolate whilst waiting for their test and its results (as per previous restrictions) regardless of age or vaccination status.
- Some people who are identified as a contact of a positive case will no longer need to isolate. This will apply to 1) those who are fully vaccinated (i.e. had both doses more than 14 days prior to being in contact with the positive case); 2) those under the age of 18yrs and 6 months; 3) those taking part in an approved Covid-19 vaccine trial; 4) those not able to be vaccinated for medical reasons.
- People who are identified as a contact will be advised to take a PCR test (you don’t have to isolate while waiting for the test and results), to minimise contact with people they don’t live with especially people who are clinically vulnerable and to wear a face covering in indoor settings. All of this will be advice rather than a legal requirement. Contacts who have had a positive PCR test in the previous 90 days should not take another PCR test.
- Contact tracers will still be contacting the contacts of positive cases to give advice and check for support needs. Vaccination status will be self reported for the next few weeks but in the coming weeks the contact tracing team will be able to verify vaccination status as they will have access to the vaccination database. If self reporting, an individual will be asked for dates and venues of their first & second doses and which vaccine they had. It won’t be as simple as just saying “yes I’ve had both doses”.
- There are additional requirements for people who work in a health & care setting. People who this applies to should be made aware of the requirements by their employers.
Covid-19 and Community Buildings
- COVID-19: Government Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities
- A good overview of advice around the use of community centres/village halls during covid-19 times – Providing advice and information to help rural communities – ACRE | Action with Communities in Rural England
- Model risk assessment for community halls
Covid-19 and Community Organisations
You may find these government guideance pages useful:
You can still keep making it safer for people to enter and exit your setting
Things you can do to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus as people enter and leave your setting include:
- Use markings to introduce a one-way flow of people entering and exiting the setting. For example, people enter through one door and exit through another.
- Stagger arrival and departure times for staff, volunteers and visitors to reduce crowding at entrance points.
- Provide extra parking and facilities, like bike racks to help people avoid using public transport when visiting your setting.
- Increase the number of entry points into the setting where possible.
- Provide hand washing facilities (or hand sanitiser if this is not possible) at entry and exit points.
- Provide alternatives to touch-based security devices such as keypads.
- Put up signs or visual aids asking people to put on a face covering before they enter an indoor setting.
- Review signing in and out procedures so that people do not have to share pens or papers.
It may be helpful to let people know about any changes you make so that they know what to expect when they arrive. Consider whether you can email your regular visitors or put some information on your website or social media pages. You could also text or telephone service users without access to the internet to let them know what to expect.