Living with COVID-19: The End of Restrictions in England
The Prime Minister made a statement earlier this week in the House of Commons on the government's strategy for living with COVID-19 in England. The devolved administrations will take forward their own plans.
A brief summary of the main changes
From 21 February
Guidance for staff and students in most education and childcare settings to undertake twice weekly
asymptomatic testing was removed.
From 24 February
Individuals will not be legally required to self-isolate if they test positive.
Individuals will have no legal obligation to tell their employer when they are required to self-isolate.
Individuals who are unvaccinated no longer have to self-isolate after close contact.
Fully vaccinated close contacts will not have to test daily for seven days.
Self-isolation support payments will be stopped.
- Routine contact tracing will end.
From 24 March
Pre-pandemic Statutory Sick Pay rules apply. Statutory Sick Pay will no longer be payable from day one
if individuals are unable to work because they are sick or self-isolating due to COVID-19.
Individuals will no longer be eligible for Employment and Support Allowance because they are selfisolating
due to COVID-19.
From 1 April
Free universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing will no longer be available.
The requirement for employers to consider COVID-19 in risk assessments will be removed.
Removal of guidance on domestic voluntary COVID-19 status certification.
There will no longer be a recommendation that venues use the NHS Covid pass.
Will we receive further guidance?
The above are key points for consideration that we have picked out of the current guidance, available here. We
are currently waiting for further guidance to be provided on key issues such as for those working with the
vulnerable, steps that people with COVID-19 should take to minimise contact with others and replacing the
“Working Safely” guidance with new Public Health guidance. We expect further information to be released on 1
How will the “Living with COVID” strategy impact employers?
There are several implications for employers as a result of the latest announcement, particularly due to the
changes on self-isolation and testing. The lack of guidance following the staging dates means that it will be
imperative for employers to consider their current position and keep this under review.
What can employers do now?
Employers should consider how they will manage the issues that arise from the removal of restrictions. For
Do existing policies need to be updated to reflect the latest guidance?
Will you permit employees back to work who test positive?
Will you require employees to come back to work if they test positive?
Have you assessed the risks with regard to clinically vulnerable members of the team or those who live with individuals who are clinically vulnerable?
Are you going to continue to process health and vaccination status?
Can you still process health and vaccination status lawfully?