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Lockdown easing – Everything you can do from July 19 unlocking next week

THERE'S just one week to go until the final step in Boris Johnson's roadmap to freedom.

From July 19, social distancing, working from home and compulsory face masks will be scrapped – while holidays are back on for double-jabbed Brits.

The PM will tonight announce that the big day can go ahead, as planned, despite soaring infections in the UK.

And with school bubbles at an end and festivals back on, there's much to celebrate – so here's everything you'll be able to do in just seven days.

SIX BIG FREEDOMS RETURNING NEXT WEEK

MASKS OFF (MOSTLY)

Brits will no longer receive a fine if they don’t wear a face covering on public transport.

Commuters will still be encouraged to wear a mask while on a bus or train – but this will not be legally enforced. 

And while businesses will be able to set conditions for their premises, Brits do not have to wear a face mask by law.

Under current guidance, Brits face fines of up to £6,400 if they don’t wear a face covering on public transport – unless they are medically exempt. 

Masks are also compulsory in shops, supermarkets, theatres, libraries, churches, youth and social clubs, hotels and most other indoor settings.

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A first offence carries a fine of £200, reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days. The penalty doubles for repeat offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

Now, ministers are shifting the emphasis onto personal responsibility rather than state-enforced rules.

But yesterday, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said new guidance published this week will advise Brits to keep face coverings on in crowded, indoor settings.

"I think it is important that we remain cautious and careful and the guidelines that we will set out tomorrow will demonstrate that," he said.

Boris Johnson has said he would wear a mask in crowded places full of strangers but suggested he would not on an empty train carriage late at night.

SOCIAL DISTANCING SCRAPPED

The one-metre-plus social distancing rule will be scrapped on July 19 in a huge boost for the hospitality industry.

There will be no limits on how many people can meet socially, or where they can meet. This applies to weddings, funerals and other life events.

Punters will finally be allowed to mingle and stand once again, while ordering from the bar will also be permitted. 

It comes as a huge boost to the hospitality industry, which has struggled to make a profit with limited capacity allowed indoors due to social distancing regulations.

In an address to Brits earlier this month, the PM said: "If we don't go ahead now, when the summer fire break is coming up, the school holidays, all the advantages, that that should give us in fighting the virus, the question is, when will we go ahead?"

NO MORE QR CODES

Punters will no longer need to check in to venues by scanning a QR code using the Test and Trace app.

There will no longer be a legal requirement for Covid certification for any setting – though businesses will be permitted to continue to use the app if they wish to do so.

It came after complaints from hospitality bosses that the app is leading to staff shortages as increasing number of employees are “pinged” and told to self-isolate. 

Meanwhile, punters will be able to order from the bar again after months of table service.

BACK TO THE OFFICE

Brits will be heading back to the office from July 19 after months of remote working..

Current guidance states that employees who can work from home must do so – despite swathes of the economy being open. 

But the rules will change from July 19 to allow firms to tell employees how and where they should work. 

The move comes as a boost for city centres, with many businesses seeing a plunge in revenue due to the lack of commuters. 

RULE OF SIX SCRAPPED

The Rule of Six will finally be scrapped in a huge boost for the hospitality industry.

Groups of more than 30 people will also be allowed to meet up as limits on large gatherings are eased.

And that means nightclubs, strip clubs, shisha bars and music venues can finally reopen after being forced to close their doors in March last year.

The great British night out will make a full return, with no need for negative tests or proof of jabs.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) welcomed the "very important steps" of lifting restrictions "which have decimated the night time economy over the last sixteen months".

FESTIVALS BACK ON

Mass events, including festivals, will also be allowed from July 19, the PM said.

Festivals and concerts have been cancelled for the past 18 months as a result of social distancing restrictions. 

However, even when they can go ahead it's believed vaccine passports may be required.

All Points East, Parklife and Reading and Leeds festivals are among those going ahead this summer.

DOUBLE-JABBED BRITS CAN SKIP QUARANTINE

Plans for double-jabbed Brits to be able to skip quarantine when travelling back from amber-listed countries were confirmed last week.

And tourists with both vaccinations will be able to whizz through fast-track lanes at Heathrow when they return to the UK.

Those who are fully-inoculated will be able to digitally upload their vaccination certificates ahead of their flights.

It means countries on the current amber list – like Spain, Portugal and Greece – will finally reopen to sun-seekers desperate for a beach break.

Under current guidance, those returning from an amber country must quarantine at home when they return. That rule will still be in place after July 19 for those who aren't double jabbed.

NO MORE SCHOOL BUBBLES 

Much-loathed school bubbles will also be ditched in August – meaning that kids can mix freely with their pals when they return to class in September.

Under the current rules, pupils have to self-isolate for 10 days if another pupil in their bubble tests positive for the Covid-19 virus.

In some cases, this has meant that entire year groups have been sent home following an outbreak at a school.

It has led to concerns many students are missing school unnecessarily with almost 50 MPs calling for the rule to be scrapped.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced last week bubbles would be replaced by focused testing and contact tracing from August 16.

Staggered start and finish times at schools will also be dropped.

SELF-ISOLATION SCRAPPED FOR DOUBLE-JABBED BRITS

Elsewhere, double-jabbed Brits won't have to isolate after contact with an infected person from August.

The mandatory 10-day quarantine for those in close contact with a case will be torn up, but not yet.

It means anyone alerted by Test and Trace or the NHS App must — by law — isolate at home for more than a month to come.

But the new Health Secretary Sajid Javid those who test positive will still have to self-isolate for 10 days even if they're jabbed.

And close contacts will still be urged to get a gold-standard PCR test to "get certainty" that they're not infected.

Spelling out the rules in the Commons Mr Javid said that anyone who gets their second dose on the cusp of August 16 will still need to wait two weeks so the extra protection can kick in.

Mr Javid also confirmed under-18s – who are not eligible for vaccines – will also be able to avoid quarantine if they come into contact with a Covid case.

He said: "Instead they'll be given advice about whether they should get tested, dependent on their age and will need to self-isolate only if they test positive."



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