Last reviewed 13 July 2021

As was widely expected, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that Step 4 of the Roadmap out of lockdown restrictions will proceed as planned on 19 July.

Earlier, Health Secretary Sajid Javid had told Parliament that the Government's "four tests" had been met:

  • the vaccination rollout is a success

  • vaccinations are demonstrably reducing hospitalisations and deaths

  • infection rates are not risking unsustainable pressure on the NHS

  • the risks are not fundamentally changed by new variants.

Mr Javid said summer, and the start of the school holidays, gave the best opportunity for England to move further out of restrictions.

Adopting a more cautious tone than he had previously, the Prime Minister did not refer to “Freedom Day” but emphasised that the next step is a balance of risks and the public should continue to be cautious.

Rules will be replaced with guidance which will emphasise personal responsibility, he said.

From 19 July

The majority of legal restrictions will be removed, Mr Johnson said, and people will be expected to protect themselves and others through informed choice.

“The Government expects and recommends that face coverings are worn in crowded and enclosed spaces, such as public transport, when mixing with people you don’t normally meet,” he went on.

Everyone is being encouraged to meet people outside where possible. The one metre-plus rule will be removed (except in places such as hospitals, or before passport control when entering the country).

While the Government is no longer instructing people to work from home, Mr Johnson continued, a return to the workplace should be gradual and businesses should follow the published guidance.

Positive cases and contacts of positive cases identified by NHS Test and Trace will still be legally required to self-isolate, to help break chains of transmission.

Nightclubs and other large event organisers are being advised they should ask for proof that people have had their vaccinations.

There will be an isolation exemption for contacts of positive cases for under-18s and for double vaccinated adults from 16 August. School bubbles will end from 19 July.

The Government will review the current guidance in September.