Covid "Freedom Day" in England

After a long two years of lockdowns and rules, remaining legal Covid restrictions have ended in England from February 24th, in what the government are calling "Freedom Day".

Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, described the changes as an important next step in a new phase of the pandemic, at the same time urging people to remain sensible, warning that the virus “is not done with us.”

Government's "Living with Covid" plan timeline

Here is what is changing and when...

From 24th February

  • People with Covid are no longer legally required to self-isolate, however the guidance is still to avoid contact with others for at least 5 days

  • Self-isolation payments for those on low incomes stop

  • Routine contact tracing ends, along with the need for people in contact with someone infected with covid to self-isolate or take daily tests

From 24th March

  • Enhanced Statutory Sick Pay will be removed - that is the ability to claim SSP from Day 1. Those off sick with Covid will only be able to claim SSP from Day 4

From 1st April

  • Free lateral flow and PCR tests will no longer be available to the general public, instead testing will be focused on the elderly and vulnerable

  • Employers won’t have to consider Covid as a separate risk in their Health & Safety planning

  • Covid passports will no longer be a recommendation, except for international travel

There are different timescales for the removal of restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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