COVID-Update: Freedom Day, what’s happening?

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Boris Johnson is said to be sharing the news today on the next phase of the irreversible relaxation of restrictions to everyday life, however, it is proposed that ‘Freedom Day’ will not fall on the 21st June. 

Freedom Day 

The 21st June 2021 has been given the near credence of the U.S. 4th of July celebrations being coined as ‘Freedom Day’ where the remaining restrictions on the businesses that can open and operate, as well as the social restrictions on distancing and masks was set to be removed. 

However, reports this morning provide that the day in question will now take a further four weeks to arrive with an anticipated date at around mid-to-late July 2021 for all restrictions to be removed. 

Restrictions on Business

In England, visits to business premises indoors in a group of up to 6 people from different households or any size group from 2 households can meet. However, social distancing still applies to the workplace, as well as public venues. 

All hospitality venues have reopened from the 17th May, however, venus providing alcohol have to serve customers with a table service and shisha pipes are banned. Indoor entertainment, including bingo halls, casinos, and theme parks can reopen. 

However, nightclubs have to remain closed and there is further guidance on this for those businesses in England. 

Furlough 

The potential for an additional four week extension of the coronavirus restrictions will be can extension of restrictions on businesses and their ability to either open or fully trade. The speculation has been that furlough may be extended also, to a limited extent, to support those businesses caught in the remaining restrictions, however, there are also reports that Rishi Sunak has not been in favour of doing this and the winding down of the scheme will go ahead from July 2021. 

This means employers will need to make at least a 10% contribution to the furlough wages of their staff with a reduction contribution from HMRC of 70% with a cap reduced to £2,187.50pm. This is also set to reduce further in August to a 20% contribution by employers and 60% from HMRC with a further reduced cap at £1,875pm. 

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