Services & Information
Coronavirus - Guidance on Social Distancing
England has moved to Step 4
While cases are high and rising, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. This is why we are keeping in place key protections:
- testing when you have symptoms and 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 those people not fully vaccinated arriving from amber list countries.
- cautious guidance for individuals, businesses and the vulnerable whilst prevalence is high including:
- whilst Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, Government would expect and recommend a gradual return over the summer
- Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport;
- being outside or letting fresh air in
- minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
- encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high risk settings. The Government will work with organisations where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of this. If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the Government will consider mandating certification in certain venues at a later date.
Although most legal restrictions have been lifted at step 4, and many people have been vaccinated, it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated, and we are still in the third wave of this pandemic in the UK.
COVID-19 will be a feature of our lives for the foreseeable future, so we need to learn to live with it and manage the risk to ourselves and others.
As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, it is important that we all use personal judgement to manage our own risk. All of us can play our part by exercising common sense and considering the risks. While no situation is risk free, there are actions we can take to protect ourselves and others around us. Following this guidance will help you stay safe and protect others by controlling the spread. Every action to help reduce the spread will reduce any further resurgence of the virus in the coming months.
Most legal restrictions to control COVID-19 have been lifted at step 4. This means that:
- You do not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with. There are also no limits on the number of people you can meet.
- However, in order to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, you should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
- You should meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces.
- The Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. However, the Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer.
- The requirement to wear face coverings in law has been lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
- There are no longer limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There is no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing. You should follow guidance for weddings and funerals to reduce risk and protect yourself and others.
- There are no longer restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship. COVID-19 has not gone away, so it's important to remember the actions you can take to keep yourself and others safe. Everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious.
Coronavirus remains a serious health risk. You should stay cautious to help protect yourself and others.
- Meet outside, or open windows and doors for indoor visitors
- If you think you have symptoms stay at home and take a PCR test
- Wear face coverings in crowded places and on public transport
- Check in to venues when you go out
- Wash your hands with soap regularly, and for at least 20 seconds
- Get vaccinated if you're 18 or over
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You are no longer advised to shield. However, you should continue to follow the guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and are advised to take additional precautions to protect yourself. It is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to limit the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing.
If you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 you should continue to follow all of the guidance. The vaccines have been shown to reduce the likelihood of severe illness in most people. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so those who have received the vaccine should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection.
We do not know by how much the vaccine stops COVID-19 from spreading. Even if you have been vaccinated, you could still spread COVID-19 to others.
The weekly data sets produced by the Director of Public Health so far as they relate to the districts and boroughs which fall under Essex County Council can be found here:
People wearing face coverings are still strongly advised to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before putting one on or taking it off, avoid taking it off and putting it back on again a lot in quick succession, store it in a plastic bag in between washes or wearing, and avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth while wearing one.
Government has set out advice for people on how to make their own face coverings easily at home, using scarves or other textile items. These face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandanna that ties behind the head to give a snug fit.
For the Government's advice on social distancing and for vulnerable people please visit:
The Government has published advice to local authorities on reallocating road space to encourage cycling and walking and enable social distancing.
Essex Country Parks - Reopening Update
Essex Country Parks reopen to the public today, 21st May. This follows the easing of restrictions to outside space and safety measures being put into place to allow us to open in line with government guidance to help keep visitors and staff safe. The parks, car parks and toilets will be open to the public, however children's play equipment, visitor centres and cafes will remain closed.
Visitors will need to observe the current rules on social distancing, particularly in places that could become crowded such as the car parks and toilets.
In anticipation that the parks will be busy visitors are asked to use their judgment in relation to their visit, for example considering the time of your trip so that not everyone arrives at once.
Important changes to note before you visit:
- Restricted opening hours of 9am - 5pm
- Once car parks are full, access to the parks will be limited
- You are encouraged to download the car parking payment app in advance of your visit to minimise contact with the machines
For a full statement and FAQs around the reopening please visit the ECC website here https://www.explore-essex.com/covid-19-updates-may-2020
Please remember to take your litter home with you where you can dispose of it responsibly.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for people in England with animals