Services & Information
Coronavirus - Guidance on Social Distancing
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 are now in force.
The so-called "Rule of Six" means that it is now illegal to meet in groups of more than six people, whether inside or out. Police have new powers to enforce this law and disperse gatherings. All the Government's coronavirus guidance has been updated to reflect the new law and you should re-acquaint yourself with any specific guidance which applies to you so that you are up to date with the latest position.
Requirements on businesses to collect data
Guidance has been updated to reflect changes in rules about social contact, and requirements for certain businesses and venues to collect data for test and trace.
Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas and other venues across England and Wales are being urged to download QR codes to prepare for public rollout of a new app.
Face Coverings Exemptions
Changes to face covering law from 8 August
Currently you are required to wear face coverings in shops (including when collecting a takeaway), supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, indoor transport hubs and public transport. From 8 August face coverings will be made mandatory (enforceable by law) in these settings:
- funeral directors
- premises providing professional, legal or financial services
- bingo halls
- concert halls
- museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites
- nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers - other than where necessary to remove for treatments
- massage parlours.
- public areas in hotels and hostels
- places of worship
- libraries and public reading rooms
- community centres
- social clubs
- tattoo and piercing parlours
- indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, funfairs, adventure activities such as laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites)
- storage and distribution facilities
- veterinary services
- auction houses
FACE COVERINGS MANDATORY IN SHOPS, SUPERMARKETS, SHOPPING CENTRES AND ENCLOSED TRANSPORT HUBS
- Face coverings will be mandatory in additional enclosed public spaces - including shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and transport hubs
- New measure an important step in lifting lockdown, as the public are encouraged to play their part
- Venues such as restaurants, pubs and gyms will be exempt
Face coverings must be worn in shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres and transport hubs - such as train stations and airports - in England from Friday, as the government takes further steps to help curb the spread of the virus.
Under the new regulations laid today, members of the public will need to wear face coverings - for example, a fabric covering, scarf or bandana - that covers the nose and mouth in additional enclosed public spaces, as well as frequent hand washing and careful social distancing.
It will be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to takeaway from cafes and shops. If you are in a premises where you are able to sit down and consume food or drink that you have bought, then you can remove your face covering in order to eat and drink on site.
Face coverings will not be mandatory for anyone under the age of 11, those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.
There is evidence to suggest that, when used correctly, face coverings may reduce the likelihood of someone with the infection passing it on to others, particularly if they are asymptomatic.
The government is telling the public to play their part and wear face coverings in order to help fight the spread of the virus, enabling further easing of national restrictions. The responsibility for wearing a face covering sits with individuals.Businesses are encouraged to take reasonable steps to encourage customers to follow the law, including through signs and providing other information in store.
Health and Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
"As we move into the next stage of easing restrictions for the public, it is vital we continue to shop safely so that we can make the most of our fantastic retail industry this summer.
"Everyone must play their part in fighting this virus by following this new guidance. I also want to thank the British public for all the sacrifices they are making to help keep this country safe."
As well as shops and supermarkets, face coverings must be worn in banks, building societies and post offices. Wearing a face covering will not be made mandatory in other venues that have measures in place to protect staff and the public from COVID-19. These include:
- Eat-in restaurants and pubs;
- Hairdressers and other treatment salons
- Gyms and leisure centres
- Cinemas, concert halls and theatres;
For transport hubs in England, the requirements mean face coverings must be worn in indoor train stations and terminals, airports, maritime ports, and indoor bus and coach stations or terminals.
Anyone who doesn't abide by the regulations - and is not exempt under one of the categories set out in the regulations - could face a fine by the police of up to £100, as is currently the case on public transport. The police have been very clear throughout the pandemic that they will "engage, explain, encourage and finally enforce as a last resort".
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.
Wearing of Face Masks
Face coverings to become mandatory on public transport
From 15 June, face coverings will be required while using public transport in England
Last month, Government 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:
People will be able to exercise outside with up to five others from different households provided that strict social distancing guidelines are followed:
Guidance has been provided for the public, providers of outdoor sport facilities, elite athletes, personal trainers and coaches on the phased return of sport and recreation:
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
With the weather improving and half term looming, significant numbers of people expected to take to the water, HM Coastguard is asking everyone to take extra care.
Please remember to take your litter home with you where you can dispose of it responsibly.