There has been speculation that ‘Step 2’ restrictions could be re-introduced - but what exactly does that mean? (Credit: Getty)
The UK was last under Step Two restrictions in April 2021 and was part of the ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown.
But what were the rules, and how likely is it to be reintroduced?
What were the Step Two restriction rules?
The rules were introduced to help the UK guide itself out of lockdown gradually, with 16 steps put in place during Step Two.
The public were told to stay a home, with no household mixing outside your own household or support bubble. Overnight stays were only permitted to be with household members or those in your support bubble.
As part of Step Two, the ‘rule of six’ was introduced - people could meet in outdoor venues only in a maximum of six people from two households.
Retail businesses remained largely unaffected, however hospitality venues were not able to allow indoor dining or drinking; visitors were only able to visit these establishments by sitting outside.
There was also a ban on travelling abroad during Step Two rules, with a £5,000 find inm place if this was broken.
Events such as weddings and funerals were able to go ahead but with limited numbers. A maximum of 30 people were allowed to attend a funeral, while weddings were only allowed to host 15 guests.
Schools remained open, while people were told to work from home where possible.
Gyms, libraries, community centres and places of worship were also open, although mixing with those outside the support bubble was not permitted.
Care home residents were limited to have two named indoor visitors.
Will Covid Step 2 restrictions be reintroduced?
There has been speculation of rules returning in the days after Christmas Day, amid a rising crisis of soaring Covid cases.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with his cabinet in a special two-hour meeting on Monday 20 December to discuss any further action, and confirmed shortly after that nothing would be “immediately implemented” but did warn that the government will “reserve the possibility of taking further action” in the coming days.
He said: “We are looking at all kinds of things to keep Omicron under control and we will rule nothing out.
“Unfortunately I must say to people that we will have to reserve the possibility of taking further action to protect the public, to protect public health, to protect our NHS.
“We won’t hesitate to take action.”
He echoed Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s sentiments, who said that there were “no guarantees” that more restrictions wouldn’t be introduced around Christmas.
Experts from Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) had stated over the weekend that immediate restrictions were needed to curb hospital admissions to 3,000 per day in England.
However, others have claimed that more data is needed to analyse whether the rapid surge in Omicron cases have an affect on hospitalisations and death rates before imposed stricter rules on the public.
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