Meadowhall Sheffield: What will change at the shops and restaurants after July 19 Freedom Day when Covid restrictions are lifted?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to confirm all the rules which will be lifted on ‘Freedom Day’ in a press conference later today.
All Covid restrictions are set to be abolished next week on July 19, despite a rise in cases due to the Delta variant, as the country enters ‘Step 4’ of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
Rules like wearing masks indoors and staying at least one metre apart from people outside our households have become second nature now, so what will these changes mean for big shopping centres like Meadowhall?
Here’s everything we know so far.
Wearing a mask:
Shoppers currently have to wear a mask throughout the centre, unless they are exempt for medical reasons. These can be removed when sat at a venue to eat and drink, but must be replaced when walking around.
Under the new rules on July 19, wearing a mask inside Meadowhall will no longer be legally required, meaning anyone who does not wear one will no longer face a hefty fine.
But many officials such as Sheffield’s Director of Public Health, Greg Fell are calling for people to still wear them indoors wherever possible in a bid to protect more people.
Although there will be no legal penalties for not wearing a mask, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said it would be “irresponsible” not to wear one in particularly crowded spaces.
The shop-workers' union Usdaw has also said face masks should continue to be mandatory for shoppers in a bid to protect staff, and it is expected that some shops may choose to keep the rules in place and still request people wear one inside the store.
Rule of six:
Under the current restrictions, no more than a group of six people, or two households, can meet up inside of Meadowhall. That means they cannot walk around the centre together, or sit at a table together at any of the food and drink or entertainment venues.
When the restrictions are lifted there will no longer be a cap on the number of people who can mingle, so larger groups will be permitted.
The one-metre-plus rule is currently in force inside Meadowhall, with shoppers from different groups required to social distance from one another at all times.
Certain toilet cubicles and sinks are closed off at the moment to ensure people are given the space they need to comply with the rules.
Once the restrictions are lifted on Freedom Day, social distancing will no longer be a requirement, meaning shoppers will no longer have to legally stay more than one metre apart from one another.
Table service at bars and restaurants:
In-line with Government guidance, diners must currently order, eat, and drink while seated, with table service the only option available.
Once the rules change, people will once again be able to visit the bar to place their orders.
Some establishments may choose to keep table service as an option, particularly those with apps for ordering and online menus, but this will be at their discretion.
Visitor number caps:
After Freedom Day there will no longer be a cap on how many people can be inside a building at once, meaning there should be no more queuing outside the Meadowhall centre.