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COVID-19 Update 29th March 2021

  • Guidance for Step 1b

The Cabinet Office has produced the full guidance for Step 1b of the Roadmap which came into effect today. The key rules are:

    • People can meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (a household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible)
    • People can take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
    • Childcare and supervised activities are allowed outdoors for all children
    • Formally organised parent and child groups can take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under 5 will not be counted in this number

While it is now no longer a legal requirement to only travel for a permitted reasons, people are advised to minimise travel where possible. This means:

    • Avoiding making unnecessary trips
    • Combining trips where possible


  • Updated Guidance on Businesses Restrictions

With the start of Step1b, the guidance on which businesses are able to open and which businesses must remain closed has also been updated. The key points here are the list of types of outdoor activity that are now allowed includes outdoor sports facilities such as:

    • Gyms
    • swimming pools
    • sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts)
    • golf courses, including mini golf
    • water sports venues
    • climbing walls
    • driving and shooting ranges
    • riding arenas at riding centres
    • archery venues

People can use these venues in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households.


It is also worth noting that the guidance states that any closed premises can open for the purposes of:

    • enabling access by the site owners or managers, staff or people authorised by them (including volunteers) for maintenance where this is reasonably necessary. This may include exhibit maintenance, animal or plant feeding, or repairs. Other work to ensure readiness to open, such as receiving deliveries of supplies, may also go ahead
    • making a film, television programme, audio programme or audio-visual advertisement


  • DCMS Q&A for Outdoor Activities Operators

DCMS have provided the following Q&A for businesses undertaking outdoor activities that are allowed to open from today

  1. Can organised walking or climbing groups take place?
  2. Organised outdoor group activities such as walking and climbing groups can take place and can happen with any number of participants, as long as it is undertaken in line with COVID-secure guidance issued by the organising body.  Restarting organised sport and physical activity should happen when the leaders (volunteers and / or staff) feel ready and comfortable.  There is no obligation for everyone to restart activity from 29th March.


  • Updated Guidance for Transport Operators

DfT has published guidance for transport operators including organised coach travel which seems to contradict DCMS’s Q&A. This guidance states that:

These rules do not place any capacity constraints on public transport services and private hire vehicles, including organised coach travel. Operators should continue to provide transport services that can accommodate separate multiple groups which conform to the requirements of the relevant social contact rules.


  • Updated Wedding Guidance

The guidance on wedding has been updated to reflect that they are no longer limited to exception circumstances. However, they are still limited to just six people and receptions are still not allowed. However, outside gatherings that comply with the Rule of 6/two households and that have BYO or delivery catering can take place in line with social contact limits.


  • New Poster on Rules and Restrictions

A new poster has been produced regarding the rules and restrictions that apply to this phase of the Roadmap which is a good resource for customers and staff


  • Increased Test and Trace Requirement

It is important to note that the Test And Trace Guidance has been changed to state that from 29 March 2021, every customer or visitor should be asked to scan the NHS QR code or provide their name and contact details, not just a lead member. This requirement applies to:

    • Hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
    • Tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas and amusement arcades
    • Close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
    • Community centres, libraries and village halls

Annex A of the guidance has the complete list of businesses that have to comply with this new requirement – there are some odd exceptions such as leisure attractions but I’m informed that they are included as well.


  • Guidance on Playgrounds and Outdoor Gyms

The guidance on the management of outdoor playgrounds and gyms has been updated has been updated for businesses that are providing this equipment for customers as part of the new relaxations


  • Guidance on Green Spaces

This guidance has also been updated in line with Step 1b. The key point in the guidance is that, when accessing green spaces, people should avoid travelling further than is reasonably necessary to access a green space.

DCMS have updated the Q&A paper on reopening with guidance on a range of issues. These include:

  • Coach Tours with multiple households have to wait until 17th May to restart
  • TICs can open from 12th April
  • Indoor wedding show-rounds have to wait until 17th May
  • Heritage Railways have to wait until 17th May to open
  • Displays and demonstrations at outdoor attractions such as zoos shouldn’t begin until 17th May
  • Passing through an indoor area to get to an outdoor attraction is allowed
  • Outdoor water parks can open on 12th April but indoor ones must remain closed until 17th May


  • Rapid Home Testing For Businesses With 10+ Employees

The Government has announced that it is expanding the workplace testing regime so that businesses with more than 10 staff can order free testing kits for employees to use at home. To get the free tests, you must register interest by 12 April. The tests will be sent to employers to distribute to their staff and come with clear instructions about how to take the test. Staff will then complete the test at home, before reporting their results to the NHS using the provided address. The tests used for this are the lateral flow tests which can detect the virus in 30 minutes which means that staff can use them prior to coming into work.
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