Here at Headway, we understand the testing challenges that Covid-19 has brought for many brain injury survivors. Adjusting to changes in routine, concerns over health, reduced social support from friends and loved ones and delays in accessing rehabilitation have been some of the hurdles that brain injury survivors across the UK have faced over the past year and a half.
While it is encouraging that steps are now being taken to open up the country once again after difficult, repeated lockdowns, the prospect of mixing with others again could be very daunting for some.
We’ve compiled information on some of the key changes that will take place across the UK, with links to help you find out more. We also provide tips and guidance for people who may be feeling anxious about the lifting of restrictions.
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Wales will move to ‘Alert level 1’ on 17th July, meaning many restrictions will be eased, but some will remain in place.
The changes include:
- Up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation
- No limits on the numbers of people who can meet in public places or at events
The Welsh Government hopes that the country will move to ‘Alert Level 0’ on 7 August, however this is subject to confirmation. If this change goes ahead, it will mean:
- All premises would be able to open - most restrictions would be replaced by ongoing risk assessments
- No legal limits on the number of people who could meet others indoors, including in private homes
- Face coverings will continue to be required by law in most indoor public places (except in hospitality businesses, such as pubs and restaurants) and on public transport
Visit gov.wales to find out more.
The Government has confirmed that from 19 July 2021 most of the legal restrictions that have been in place will be lifted. Once these restrictions are relaxed, the Government says:
- You will not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with. There will also be no limits on the number of people you can meet.
- However, in order to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, you should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts. Meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces.
- The Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. However, the Government expects and recommends a gradual return to the office over the summer.
- The requirement to wear face coverings in law will be lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport. Healthcare services, individual businesses and public transport operators may impose their own mask-wearing requirements.
- There will no longer be limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing. You should follow guidance for weddings and funerals to reduce risk and protect yourself and others.
- There will no longer be restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship.
For further information regarding the lifting of restrictions, and the most up-to-date guidance, check the gov.uk website to find out more.
Scotland will move to ‘level 0’ of its Covid-19 lockdown from 19 July, with certain limitations easing but a number of restrictions remaining in place.
The changes include:
- Social distancing will reduce to 1 metre in all indoor public settings and outdoors.
- Informal social gatherings of up to 15 people from 15 households will be permitted outdoors without physical distancing.
- Gatherings of up to 10 people from four households will be permitted in all indoor public settings with 1 metre physical distancing.
- Under-12s will no longer count towards the number of households that can gather indoors in public spaces and homes.
- Hospitality settings can open till midnight, if their current licence permits that, and customers will no longer be required to pre-book a two-hour slot to go to a pub or restaurant but will still be required to provide contact details to assist Test & Protect.
- Up to 200 people will be able to gather at weddings and funerals.
- Employers are asked to continue to support home working where possible until Scotland moves beyond Level 0.
Visit the gov.scot website to find out more.
Restrictions may ease in Northern Ireland on 26 July, but this is subject to a review on 22 July.
If they go ahead, the changes will include:
- 10 people from three households will be able to meet inside a private home.
- 15 people from any number of households will be able to meet in a private garden.
- Social distancing rules will be reduced to 1m indoors and removed for outdoor activities (although the 2m distance will still be recommended).
Find out more on the nidirect.gov.uk website.
Feeling anxious about coming out of lockdown?
While the regulations may be changing, many people will choose to continue taking steps to protect themselves from Covid-19. This could include avoiding crowded spaces, meeting friends and family outdoors where possible and continuing to wear a mask.
If you are feeling anxious about coming out of lockdown, we’ve put together some top tips to help you cope:
- It’s ok to say no. Don’t feel pressured into doing things you don’t want to do, we know this can be especially difficult if loved ones don’t always understand the impact of brain injury.
- Don’t avoid doing things all together. Whilst it may seem daunting to do things initially, avoiding things can make doing them harder in the long term.
- One step at a time. If you’re feeling anxious about leaving the house, set yourself a small goal to walk to the end of the road or in your garden and gradually build your confidence.
- Plan what precautions you want to take to continue to protect your health. It might be useful to keep a checklist near your front door listing the things you want to take out with you such as hand sanitiser, a mask or your Headway brain injury identity card.
- The slower pace of life many of us experienced in lockdown has been beneficial to survivors in lots of ways including in managing their fatigue. Try and keep the aspects of that slower pace that have worked for you.
- Talk to somebody. Often anxious thoughts can leave us feeling isolated but opening up to someone we trust can be helpful and make us feel less alone.
- Sustain the positive changes that lockdown brought. Many survivors told us that the increased contact with family and friends online and over the phone really helped them. Talk to your loved ones about maintaining this.
- Develop the new hobbies taken up during lockdown. Lots of survivors told us they had started new hobbies including cooking, painting, and gardening. Plan to make time to continue these things post lockdown.
- Find routine wherever you can. We know that routine can be invaluable for many brain injury survivors. Try and maintain those routines that have helped you during lockdown as far as you are able to.
- Focus on the here and now. Blocking out the ongoing changes around us and focussing on things in the present can help reduce anxiety. Read our article about mindfulness to find out more.
Whether you are excited about society reopening or feeling nervous about the lifting of restrictions, Headway is here to help. Our helpline is open for anyone wanting to talk things through with a member of our team who can offer reassurance and a friendly voice.
You can contact the helpline by calling 0808 800 2244 or emailing email@example.com.Back