Hundreds of regulations on mask-wearing, social distancing, mass gatherings and home working will be wiped out in England from 19 July.
And prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed that there will be no Covid passport required to attend events or venues. However, Johnson suggested that organisers could still make use of certification and the NHS app, as the government moved to put the onus on organisers and the wider public to use their own judgment to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 infections.
“There will be no Covid certificate required as a condition of entry to any venue or event although businesses and events can certainly make use of certification and the NHS app,” he said.
“We must be honest with ourselves that if we can’t reopen our society in the next few weeks, when we will be helped by the arrival of summer, and by the school holidays, we must ask ourselves, when will we be able to return to normal?”
Under the move to Step 4 of the government's roadmap, set to be confirmed next week, masks will not be legally required in any setting in England from 19 July, with people merely advised to wear masks in crowded spaces. Downing Street added that businesses that choose to enforce mask-wearing would need to take legal advice on their responsibilities under the Equality Act.
Full capacity events can proceed, with all social distancing requirements dropped as the government makes a decisive move away from legal restrictions to allow people to make "informed decisions" about how to manage the virus.
From Step 4, all legal limits on numbers meeting indoors and outdoors will be lifted and all businesses, including nightclubs, will be allowed to reopen.
The prime minister added that he intends to remove self-isolation rules for those that have received two vaccinations, but it remains a legal requirement for now, with more details in due course.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps is working with the travel industry on 'amber list' quarantine rules for the double jabbed, with an update expected later this week.
Number 10 said that the easing of restrictions was possible as vaccinations had “broken the link” between cases and hospitalisations and deaths. It added that hospitalisations and deaths would inevitably continue, but at a far reduced level thanks to the vaccine.
Johnson added: "We have to balance the risks of the disease and the risks of continuing with legally enforced restrictions which take their toll on people's lives, livelihoods and businesses.
"To those who say we should delay again, the alternative to that is to open up in the winter, when the virus will have an advantage, or not at all this year."
M&IT editor Paul Harvey is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience. He began his career in the local press, working for various titles across the north. Since joining M&IT in 2013, he has become a trusted and respected voice in the sector, championing event professionals and reporting on all aspects of the events industry for the brand.