By step 4 the government hope to be able to lift all restrictions and legal limits on social contact in the UK, with appropriate mitigations in place. The guidance on working from home may also be updated at this point (see below on social distancing).
All remaining businesses expect to be reopened (including nightclubs) and ease the restrictions imposed on large events that apply in step 3, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme (see below)
Ahead of this final step, the Government has committed to providing the conclusion of four studies looking into different elements of managing COVID-19 beyond the summer, and what this will mean for businesses and individuals beyond this date. These studies include:
- Social distancing – The government will undertake a comprehensive review of social distancing and other long-term measures such as the 1-meter rule, the wearing of face coverings etc. This review will determine the timings and circumstances for these restrictions to be lifted. This review will also inform guidance on working from home.
- COVID status certification – the Government will assess the benefits and impacts of whether COVID-status certification (using testing or vaccination data to confirm in different settings that people have a lower risk of transmitting COVID-19) could play a role in reopening the economy beyond summer.
- Large events – from April the Government plans to pilot mitigation measures such as enhanced testing approaches to enable larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing at larger events. This will form a scientific Events Research Programme, the outcomes of which will determine the extent to which restrictions can be lifted on large events at Step 4.
International travel – A new Taskforce will report to the Prime Minister and work with UK representatives of the travel sector, including airlines and airports to develop a framework that enables greater inbound and outbound travel. It will report on 12 April, and some travel restrictions may begin to be lifted no earlier than step 3. Beyond this, the Government will look to establish a long-term international framework for allowing greater travel to and from the UK.
To read the full breakdown of the lockdown easing in the UK, visit the Gov.uk website.