As we enter step four of the Government roadmap, big changes have been made in England.

What has now changed in England?

Social distancing

  • No limits on how many people can meet
  • 1m-plus guidance removed (except in some places like hospitals and passport control when entering)
  • Face coverings no longer required by law, although the Government still “expects and recommends” them in crowded and enclosed spaces
  • Some shops and transport operators will still require masks

Events and gatherings

  • Nightclubs can reopen
  • Pubs and restaurants no longer table-service only
  • No limits on guests at weddings and funerals
  • No limits on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events
  • No restrictions on communal worship


  • Guidance recommending against travel to amber list countries removed. (Those returning from France to England, Wales and Scotland must still quarantine for 10 days)
  • Under-18s and fully vaccinated adults no longer have to self-isolate after visiting amber list countries

Other changes

  • Limits on visitors to care homes will be removed.
  • From 16 August, most Covid restrictions in schools – including “bubbles” – will end.
  • From the same date, fully vaccinated adults will not need to self-isolate after contact with a positive case.

As social distancing rules are lifted, there’s no need to rush back to everything straight away. Many people are worried about going back to a more ‘normal’ life, so it’s important to respect others and help where we can.

The government is still recommending a number of things you can do to slow the spread:

  • Wear face coverings in crowded or enclosed areas such as on public transport
  • When meeting people you don’t usually spend time with, minimise your number of social contacts and how long you spend with them, keep a distance where possible and consider wearing a face covering
  • Take twice-weekly asymptomatic (lateral flow) tests and record your results.

Doing regular twice-weekly test when you don’t have symptoms (known as being asymptomatic) and recording your results online is a responsible and reassuring thing to do once the rules are lifted at step four. Here’s why – one in three people who catch coronavirus show no symptoms but can pass it on, even if they have had the vaccine.

Home tests kits are free and can be collected from Somerstown Central and many other locations across Portsmouth.

Find out more about step four changes here.