COVID-19 Business Support

Roadmap to Recovery Spring 2021 (Section 3: Roadmap)

A step-by-step plan to easing restrictions in England "cautiously"

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(COVID-19) COVID-19: Employer Vaccine Toolkit (England)

As part of the new national campaign on the COVID-19 vaccine, we have developed an employer toolkit to help ensure employers and their staff get access to reliable and accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine.​​

Please do share this employer toolkit, Q&A, and DHSC press release with employers in your region.

(COVID-19) COVID-19: New Assets (England)

In line with Step 3 of the Roadmap, further COVID-19 restrictions eased in England. ​​

New​​​ Hands Face Space + Fresh Air assets are now available on the Coronavirus Resources Centre (CRC), including:

You can also find assets to promote the Step 3 easements here.

Please use this tracked link to direct towards the COVID-19 guidance:

You may also wish to amplify our most recent tweet on the rule changes

(COVID-19) Restrictions on businesses and venues in England

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do changed on 17 May. However, coronavirus restrictions remain in place. You should continue to work from home if you can, travel safely, and follow the rules in the Coronavirus Restrictions guidance.

The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ setting out the roadmap out of the current coronavirus restrictions. This is a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously.

Due to the current relatively uniform spread of the virus across the country, the four steps set out in the roadmap are designed to apply to all regions. The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates for Step 4 in the roadmap is contingent on the data and subject to change.

Businesses already permitted to open through steps 1 and 2

The ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ describes the step-by-step plan for how restrictions in England have been eased cautiously so far.

Businesses permitted to open through steps 1 and 2:

Businesses providing supervised activities for childcare and outdoor sports facilities were permitted to open from step 1.


  • In Step 2 non-essential retail (clothes shops or florists, for example) and close contact personal services (such as hairdressers) were permitted to open.

  • Indoor sports centres such as gyms, outdoor sections at attractions and self-contained holiday accommodation were also permitted to reopen when used by people alone or with their household (or support bubble). Outdoor hospitality settings such as restaurants and cafes were also permitted to open.


At Step 3, these businesses and venues must only be attended/used in line with the social contact limits, unless a legal exemption applies (such as for organised sport, childcare, or support groups). This means visitors and attendees must only gather in a group of up to 6 people or a larger group consisting of no more than 2 households indoors. They must only gather in a group of up to 30 people outdoors. Visitors should also follow guidance on meeting friends and family.


Businesses and venues reopening at Step 3, 17 May

Indoor hospitality

Indoor areas of hospitality venues can reopen for groups of up to 6 people or larger groups consisting of no more than 2 households. This includes:

  • restaurants

  • pubs

  • bars, including those in hotels or members’ clubs

  • social clubs

  • cafes and canteens

Hospitality venues providing alcohol for consumption on the premises, such as pubs and restaurants, will be required to provide table service. Venues that do not provide alcohol for consumption on the premises, such as certain cafes, may permit customers to order from the counter, but any food/drink must be consumed whilst seated.

Venues are prohibited from providing smoking equipment such as shisha pipes, for use on the premises. View further guidance for hospitality venues.

Indoor sports and leisure

You can exercise outdoors in groups of up to 30, or indoors in a group of 6 or a larger group of any size from no more than 2 households (including their support bubbles, if eligible).

Indoor organised sport and group exercise classes can resume for all, in any number. This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take the required precautions, including the completion of a risk assessment. Access further guidance on grassroots sport.

You should avoid contact in training and, for some sports, avoid contact in all activities. Read the guidance on what avoiding contact means for your sport.


Saunas and steam rooms may also reopen at sports and leisure facilities

Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions

Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions can reopen. This includes:

  • amusement arcades and adult gaming centres

  • bingo halls

  • casinos

  • circuses

  • bowling alleys

  • snooker and pool halls

Indoor areas at the following attractions may also reopen:

  • museums and galleries

  • adventure playgrounds and activities

  • skating rinks

  • games and recreation venues, including laser quest, escape rooms, paintballing and recreational driving facilities

  • play areas (including soft play centres and inflatable parks)

  • model villages

  • trampolining parks

  • water and aqua parks

  • theme parks and film studios

  • zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions

  • botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes

  • sculpture parks

  • landmarks including observation wheels or viewing platforms

  • stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites

These indoor venues and attractions must only be accessed in groups of up to 6 people or larger groups consisting of no more than 2 households unless an exemption applies. Events held at these venues should follow the specific guidance on events below.

Performance arts

Performance arts venues such as cinemas, theatres, and concert halls may reopen. This also includes outdoor performance venues which have also been required to close until Step 3. See further guidance on performance arts.


Conference centres and exhibition halls will also be able to open for conferences, exhibitions, tradeshows, and private dining and banqueting events (subject to the capacity limits set out below).


Indoor events and remaining outdoor events, such as elite sport events, business events, cinemas and live performance events are also permitted.


Attendance at these events is restricted to 50% of capacity up to 1,000 people for indoor events, and 50% of capacity up to 4,000 people for outdoor events.


For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, attendance of up to 25% of seated capacity, or 10,000 seated people, whichever is lowest, is permitted. There is further guidance on organising events during COVID-19


Both outdoor and indoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to specific conditions: that they comply with COVID-secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits (unless another exemption exists, such as for organised sport or exercise, supervised activities for children or a significant life event).

Holiday accommodation

Remaining holiday accommodation can reopen for groups of up to 6 or larger groups consisting of no more than 2 households. Saunas and steam rooms may reopen, however should follow COVID-secure guidance. See guidance for people who work in or run hotels and other guest accommodation.

Business closures at Step 3

The following businesses must remain closed:

  • nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques

  • sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars

Step 4 (Revised 6th July 2021)

Step 4 is expected to begin on Monday the 19th of July if the Government’s “four tests” for easing COVID restrictions have been met. This will be confirmed on Monday the 12th of July following a review of the latest data.

At Step 4, the Government will remove outstanding legal restrictions on social contact, life events, and open the remaining closed settings. The Government will instead enable people and businesses to make informed decisions about how to manage the risk to themselves and others. 

This means that at Step 4: 

  • All remaining limits on social contact will be removed and there will be no more restrictions on how many people can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors. 

  • All settings will be able to open, including nightclubs. 

  • Large events, such as music concerts and sporting events can resume without any limits on attendance or social distancing requirements. 

  • The legal requirements to wear a face covering will be lifted in all settings. 

  • Social distancing rules will be lifted. 

  • Businesses will be encouraged to display QR codes for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, although it will no longer be a legal requirement. 

  • It is no longer necessary for the Government to instruct people to work from home and employers can start to plan a return to workplaces.

The full document also includes requirements relating to self-isolation and ventilation: COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 (Roadmap)


The Government has also published information, including the final reports, regarding the reviews into Social Distancing, COVID-Status Certification, and the Events Research Programme: Roadmap Reviews

Eviction Protection Extended for Businesses in Need

Business Rates

In England, the government has provided a 100 per cent business rates holiday for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. This 100 per cent holiday has been extended to June 2021, after which businesses will receive 66% relief, up to a cap, for the following nine months. Nurseries in England will also receive this relief.

For further information businesses can check eligibility here on business rate reliefs.

Rules for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

The Devolved Administrations have issued their own guidance and regulations on these matters. The guidance can be found below:

(COVID-19) Self-Isolation To Be Eased For Fully Vaccinated Adults In Step 4 (England)

Source webpage can be found here.

From 16 August, double jabbed individuals and under 18s will no longer need to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19


As part of Step 4 of the Government’s COVID-19 roadmap, double vaccinated people will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, the Health and Social Care Secretary has confirmed today (Tuesday 6 July).

The new rules will come into effect from 16 August, if the Government takes a decision to move into Step 4. To ensure young people can make the most of their education as restrictions continue to ease, the Government also plans to exempt those aged under 18 from self-isolation if they are a close contact.

Introducing this exemption in August will enable even more people to have received both doses of the vaccine, significantly reducing the risk of severe illness and providing the fullest protection possible for people across the country. The NHS COVID-19 app will update in August in line with the new guidance on self-isolation for close contacts.

Young people and double vaccinated individuals identified as close contacts will continue to be advised to take a PCR test, to detect the virus and variants of concern. Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status.

Vaccine programme

The phenomenal success of the UK’s vaccine programme – with over 86% of adults receiving their first doses – has allowed the government to continue easing restrictions and to remove self-isolation rules for double jabbed people, and move from a rules-based system to personal responsibility. The latest data shows that 27,000 lives have already been saved by COVID-19 vaccines and over 7 million infections prevented, with vaccines reducing the chance of COVID-19 infection by almost 80% after two doses and only 35% after one.

As of 6 July, over 79 million vaccine doses have now been administered in the UK, and three in five adults have received two doses. To continue to receive the fullest possible protection against COVID-19, all adults are encouraged to get their vaccine.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid told Parliament:

Asking people with COVID-19 and their close contacts to self-isolate has played a critical role in helping us get this virus under control, and I’m so grateful to the millions of people across the UK who have made sacrifices to keep the virus at bay.

Thanks to the UK’s phenomenal vaccine programme and the huge wall of defence, we can safely take steps to reduce self-isolation for people who are fully vaccinated, and those aged under 18, and instead advise people to take a PCR test. Positive cases will still need to self-isolate.

Step-by-step, and jab-by-jab, we’re replacing the temporary protection of the restrictions, with the long-term protection of a vaccine.

Regular testing remains critical to controlling the virus as restrictions ease. Advising double vaccinated contacts and children to take a PCR test with a requirement to self-isolate for those who test positive will reduce the risk of onward transmission. Alongside PCR testing, everyone in England is encouraged to take up the government’s offer of free, twice weekly rapid testing.

As with fully vaccinated adults, children who are close contacts of a positive case will instead be advised to take a PCR test. If the PCR test is positive they will need to self-isolate, as any other positive case.

Robust protective measures are in place across schools, including twice weekly testing to protect students and prevent transmission. NHS Test and trace will continue to provide age appropriate advice for testing in schools in the coming months.

Background information

The Government will make an announcement on whether the UK will move into Step 4 of the COVID-19 roadmap on 12th July on the basis of its four tests

Children who are aged under 5 years old who are identified as close contacts would only be advised to take a PCR test if the positive case is in their own household.

If someone gets their second dose just before, or after, the 16th of August, they’ll need to wait until two weeks after they get the second jab to benefit from these new freedoms so the vaccine has time to build the maximum possible protection.