A return to Step 2 Covid restrictions would mean some significant social changes if implemented. Sources inside the government believe that Boris Johnson is preparing to introduce these measures
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Cases of the coronavirus have soared and the government is once again looking at if further restrictions need to be implemented.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government are considering a tightening of rules with a return to so-called Step 2 restrictions in England.
The changes would impact our daily lives and affect common public places once again.
Around 550,000 people have tested positive for Covid in the past week, with hospitalisations beginning to go up, directly affecting the capacity of the NHS and its ability to cope.
On December, 20, Deputy PM Dominic Raab confirmed that 12 people have died after contracting the highly infectious Omicron variant.
Step 2 is aimed at preventing further cases like this. So what is it?
What is Step 2?
The idea of Step 2 was first established in early 2021 as part of the roadmap out of lockdown as things opened up again. Now it is being considered as the UK takes baby steps towards tougher measures.
One of the key changes will be to the hospitality sector. Pubs and restaurants will require outside use only and sitting inside will no longer be allowed.
Social bubbles could also come back, affecting who can go to the pub together. If Step 2 is followed to the letter of how it was last time, then two households can meet or there is a rule of six.
The guidelines last year said: “You must not socialise indoors except with your household or support bubble. You can meet outdoors, including in gardens, in groups of six people or two households.”
Non-essential shops will be allowed to remain open, as can self-contained accommodation like campsites and holiday lets.
Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, driving lessons are allowed and weddings can have 15 guests.
How likely is Step 2 and when might it happen?
The Mirror’s political editor Pippa Crerar tweeted: “Hearing that Boris Johnson is considering going back to step 2 restrictions from Dec 27 – so POST Christmas – for a month to help curb infections.
“Big caveat is that Govt scientists want him to act now – while some in Cabinet worried about further restrictions even later.”
It is now looking more likely that restrictions will be in place from December 28.
The restrictions are believed to be in place for around a month, but this would depend on if cases continue to dramatically rise.
Dominic Raab was unable to confirm that further measures in the form of Step 2 would not be put in place.
He said: “Well, I just can’t make hard and fast guarantees.”