Coronavirus: Boris Johnson's lockdown easing statement, what does it mean for you?

17 July 2020, 14:21 | Updated: 17 July 2020, 14:33

Boris Johnson made the announcement on Friday morning
Boris Johnson made the announcement on Friday morning. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today made a major announcement into the easing of the coronavirus lockdown, but what does it mean for you?

The UK has been in lockdown since March 23 due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis and the Prime Minister today announced a major update on the lockdown restrictions.

On Friday morning Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a call with his Cabinet ahead of announcing the next stage of the coronavirus recovery plan.

Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty also took part in the discussion, according to Downing Street.

But what do these changes mean for you? Here's everything we know so far.

When can I return to the office?

Mr Johnson said he would broadly lift the work-from-home guidance which has been in place for most people in the UK during the lockdown.

However, he said it was up to individual employers, rather than the Government, to decide whether their staff should return to the office from August 1.

Employers "should be encouraging" workers to return, so long as their workplace has introduced coronavirus safety measures, Mr Johnson said.

The Government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, said on Thursday there was no need to change the work-from-home, if you can, advice.

All you need to know from the July 17 Covid-19 briefing

What about local lockdowns?

From July 18, local councils in England will have new powers to prevent the spread of coronavirus in their areas.

Local authorities will be able to close specific premises, shut public outdoor spaces and cancel events, Mr Johnson said.

New draft regulations will be published next week on how central Government can also intervene by introducing local stay-at-home orders and "transport systems" in those areas, Mr Johnson added.

Boris Johnson: Local authorities will get more powers to bring in lockdowns

Can I use public transport for non-essential journeys?

Advice to avoid using public transport has been lifted in England as of July 17, meaning people are free to make non-essential journeys on buses and trains again.

However, people are still being told to wear face coverings while travelling, to avoid peak times and adhere to social distancing measures.

Mr Johnson said alternative means of travel should also be used "where possible".

Boris Johnson announces changes in working from home advice from August

When can I visit the theatre again?

From August 1, audiences will be able to return to indoor theatres and music venues in England, so long as they adhere to social distancing.

Leisure centres, bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos will also be allowed to reopen from the same date.

Nightclubs, however, will remain closed.

Are sports venues going to reopen?

Mr Johnson said the Government will pilot larger gathering in sports venues ahead of a wider reopening planned for the autumn.

Pilots to reopen sports stadiums will include the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield from July 31 and the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival from August 1.

How many people can attend my wedding?

From next month, wedding receptions for up to 30 people will be allowed to resume, so long as measures are in place to reduce Covid-19 transmission.

Beauticians will also be allowed to reopen from August 1.

James O'Brien's powerful reaction to PM's briefing

What is the new testing target?

The PM committed to a new target of reaching the capacity for 500,000 coronavirus tests per day by November in order to distinguish between flu and Covid-19 symptoms.

He added that the "biggest-ever flu vaccination programme" will also be rolled this year.

It comes as a report by Sir Patrick warned there could be 120,000 hospital deaths in a "reasonable worst-case scenario".