Coronavirus update 23 February


On the 22 February the Government announced their four-step roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions across England.  Each step will be assessed against four tests before restrictions start to ease, with the return of all pupils to schools on 8 March.
The decisions to ease restrictions will be based on data rather than dates to keep the infection under control.
The four tests are:
  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  • Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants.
There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions; followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.
Key dates:
8 March 2021
  • All children and students will return to face to face education in schools and college.
  • Wraparound childcare and other supervised children’s activities can resume where they enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group
  • Care home residents will be allowed one regular visitor provided they are tested and wear PPE
  • The Stay at Home requirement will remain, but people can leave home for recreation outdoors such as a coffee or picnic with their household or support bubble, or with one person outside their household
  • Some university students on practical courses will be able to return to face to face learning
29 March 2021
  • Outdoor gatherings of either six  people or two households will be allowed, providing greater flexibility for families to see each other. This includes in private gardens.
  • Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, will be allowed to reopen, and people can take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
  • At this point, the Stay at Home order will end, although many lockdown restrictions will remain. People should continue to work from home where possible, and overseas travel remains banned, aside for a small number of reasons.
Step 2, no earlier than 12 April:
  • Non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, will reopen.
  • Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances will also be permitted.
  • Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen - but only for use by people on their own or with their household.
  • Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only. There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and no curfew - although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.
  • Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
  • Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (from 6).
Step 3, no earlier than 17 May:
  • Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
  • Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen. Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply – although the government will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.
  • Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.
  • Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).
  • In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
  • Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. Other life events that will be permitted include bar mitzvahs and christenings.
Step 4, no earlier than 21 June:
  • It is hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed.
  • We hope to reopen nightclubs, and lift restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3.
  • This will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.
The latest vaccine efficacy data, with Public Health England finding that one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces hospitalisations and deaths by at least 75%. Analysis of the AstraZeneca vaccine efficacy continues, with promising early results.
The vaccination programme continues at pace, with the announcement of a new target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to every adult by the end of July. You will contacted directly by the NHS when you are offered a vaccine.  

What does that mean for you?
We will continue to provide our services where we can, as we have been doing throughout lockdown. If you have been reluctant for our contractors to attend your home we hope you will consider doing that now for essential repairs and health and safety work. All contractors and staff use relevant PPE and follow social distancing guidelines.
We have been reviewing our reception service and how this will work in the future and plan to re-open Eversholt St reception in line with the opening of non-essential shops due in April.
We will continue to offer a range of ways to get in touch and to expand our digital service offer, and we’re still here if you need to call us or for us to visit you.
How to get in touch:
On our website you can
  • Fill out a relevant form to let us know about an issue or something you need us to do
  • Find useful information about living in your home
  • Use the Chatbot on the homepage for most quick questions, you can also report a repair, order a rent statement or type live chat to speak to us
  • Send a message with WhatsApp
  • Book a call with your Neighbourhood Manager, Home Ownership Team or talk to our Financial Support Officers if you have any money worries.
  • Register for an online account – you can see your rent balance, report a repair and get in touch on other issues.
  • Email us