12 MAY 2020
Yesterday the Prime Minister published the Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy detailing how we plan to rebuild the UK, protect the health and safety of the British public, save lives and livelihoods.
Our success containing the virus so far has been hard fought and hard won. So it is for that reason that we must proceed with the utmost care in the next phase, and avoid undoing what we have achieved.
This plan seeks to return life to as close to normal as possible, for as many people as possible, as fast and fairly as possible, in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.
Protecting the health and safety of the British public is, and must always be, our number one priority. That is why the Government is introducing an app that people can download so they will know if they have come in contact with a case of Coronavirus and can isolate to keep the spread of the virus under control. And that is also why the Government set out five tests that must be met before we can slowly and cautiously lift lockdown restrictions.
And to chart our progress, we are establishing a new Covid Alert Level System. The Covid Alert Level will be determined primarily by R - the rate of infection - and the number of coronavirus cases. In turn, that Covid Alert Level will determine how the level social distancing measures in place. The lower the level the fewer the measures; the higher the level, the stricter the measures.
And everyone has a role to play because the R-Value is directly influenced by how many people you have contact with and for how long. This is how we ensure the sacrifice of the British public is not wasted and we avoid going back to square one.
So as we begin to recover and return to our way of live, it is vital that we all stay alert, so we can control the virus and save lives.
We said that you should work from home if you can, and only go to work if you must. We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.
From Wednesday, people can take more and unlimited amounts of exercise outside. People can sit in the sun in the park, drive to other destinations, such a national parks and beaches, and can meet one person from outside of their household if they are outdoors. Garden centres can reopen. Outdoor sports courts, such as golf courses and tennis courts, can reopen.sports courts, such as golf courses and tennis courts, can reopen.
You must follow the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules fines for the small minority who break them have been increased.
At the earliest, by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
Our ambition is that secondary pupils facing exams next year will get at least some time with their teachers before the holidays.
The Government also hopes to begin the phased reopening of some non-essential retail shops that are currently closed.
At the earliest by July - subject to these conditions and further scientific advice; if and only if the numbers support it we will hope to re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, if they are safe and enforce social distancing.
Find out what these new rules mean for what you can and cannot do here.
Though the UK will be changed by this experience, we can be stronger and better than ever before. More resilient, more innovative, more economically dynamic, but also more generous and more sharing.
But for now we must stay alert, control the virus and save lives.