Services & Information
Coronavirus - Guidance on Social Distancing
How the rules will change on 12 April
The Prime Minister confirmed the Government's four tests for easing COVID-19 restrictions have been met and planned easements can go ahead from 12 April.
From 12 April:
• non-essential retail will be able to reopen
• personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
• public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
• outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
• most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
• some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
• indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
• all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
• weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
• self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
• you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
• care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)
You should stay 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) if you cannot stay 2 metres apart.
You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops and places of worship, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law. Read guidance on face coverings.
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:
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.
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
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.
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:
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