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Lifting of coronavirus restrictions – but cases continue to rise

From today (Monday 19 July) COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted – as cases across the UK continue to rise.

The Government has left some key protections in place including testing when you have symptoms and targeted asymptomatic testing – as well as isolating when positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

People are also being advised to “act carefully and remain cautious” while rates are high.

On lifting the restrictions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed: “It is absolutely vital that we proceed now with caution and I cannot say this powerfully or emphatically enough, this pandemic is not over. This disease, coronavirus, continues to carry risks for you and your family… We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday 19th July to life as it was before COVID…”

On Thursday the rates for the past week in Bristol were 2,586 new cases of COVID-19 and the city’s current rate of infection 559 cases per 100,000 population – higher than England’s average infection rate of 342 cases per 100,000 population.

Some 310,483 (71.4 per cent) of all Bristol residents aged over 16 have had at least one vaccine dose.

City HalI. Image Bristol City Council.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: “…Our rates in Bristol are very high and we must do everything we can to stem the spread of the virus and stop more people ending up unwell in our hospitals. One way to help stop the virus spreading is to self-isolate immediately if you have symptoms, test positive or have been contacted by Track and Trace. You can read more about self-isolating on the NHS website.”

What’s changing in England on 19 July?

As the Government moves to Step 4 of its roadmap – responsibility for protecting others now lies more with the individual choices we make. Easing of restrictions means the following changes:

Social distancing
  • There are no limits on how many people can meet both outside and indoors.
  • The 1 metre plus guidance is removed (except in some places like hospitals and passport control when entering).
  • In England, the legal requirement to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces ends. But government guidance says it “expects and recommends” the continued wearing of masks in crowded areas such as public transport. Face coverings must still be worn in other parts of the UK.
  • Some shops and transport operators will still require masks
  • The limit on how many named visitors a care home resident can receive will be lifted – but infection control measures such as enhanced cleaning and PPE will remain in place.
Events and gatherings
  • Nightclubs can reopen
  • Pubs and restaurants will no longer be table-service only
  • Weddings and funerals will have no limits on the number of guests
  • There are no restrictions on communal worship
  • No limits on people attending concerts, cinemas, theatres or sports events
Cinemas will now be up to full capacity. Pictured Hengrove Cinema. Image Google Earth.
  • Adults who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days), will no longer need to quarantine when returning to England from amber list countries. Under 18s will also be exempt from quarantine. (Those returning from France must still quarantine for ten days).
  • Proof of vaccination will need to be provided to the airline in advance of travel.
  • Anyone returning from amber countries will still need to complete a pre-departure test before arrival into England, alongside a PCR test on or before day two after arrival. They will not have to take a day eight test or self-isolate. 
  • The current recommendation for people to not travel to amber countries will also be removed from Monday.

For more information visit the GOV.UK website

Changes to the international travel list

From 4am on Monday 19 July some countries have been moved onto the red, amber and green travel lists.

For the latest updates visit:
Other changes from 16 August
  • Fully vaccinated adults will not need to self-isolate after contact with a positive case
  • Most school restrictions ending including “bubbles”
Guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable

With restrictions being lifted, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable may wish to take extra precautions to reduce exposure to COVID-19.

For more information visit the guidance on the GOV.UK website

If you, or someone you know needs help getting food, medicine, or other necessities, call the free We Are Bristol support helpline: 0800 694 0184 from Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm and
Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 2pm.

Support is also available from the free confidential NHS 24/7 helpline on 0800 012 6549 or visit the Are you OK? website for a list of free support services.

For more information visit the council’s coronavirus website at:

Protections still in place
  • 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.
  • People working from home will be encouraged to have a gradual return to the workplace.
  • Testing when you have symptoms.
  • 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.
  • Border quarantine for all arriving from red list countries and for people not fully vaccinated arriving from amber list countries.
  • Government is expecting and recommending that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
  • Minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.