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Covid-19 restrictions have eased but will we see noticeable changes?

Covid-19 rules have changed across England but it's hard to say how much difference people will see immediately. 

Although the wearing of masks is now longer required by law, except in places like hospitals, the government is recommending and expects people to continue to wear them in crowded and closed spaces. 

Major supermarket chains including Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Asda and Aldi are asking shoppers to continue to wear masks and to give fellow shoppers plenty of space, despite the rules around social distancing being removed except in places like hospitals. 

Many smaller outlets are also asking people to retain their masks. 

A Facebook post by Ryan’s DIY Centre in New Mills, where staff will continue to wear masks, said: “We would appreciate our customers to continue wearing masks unless exempt for everyone's safety but appreciate that some of you will not want to. 

“All we ask is that people accept and understand every other person’s position and be kind and accepting of everyone.” 

A similar request for masks to be worn has been made by W Potts & Sons’ bakery in New Mills, where current restrictions on how many people may enter the shop at any one time remains the same. 

At the High Peak’s leisure centres, the relaxation of restrictions has seen an increase in the number of activities, courses, and clubs and a rise in the number of spaces available in pools, classes, gyms, and swimming lessons.

However, people are again asked to be considerate of others, particularly in crowded areas and are encouraged to wear face coverings. 

Changes in hospitality 

Meanwhile, people are no longer restricted to table service only and will be able to order their drinks at the bar in pubs, while the rule of six has been relaxed across hospitality venues. 

Although nightclubs have reopened for the first time since March 2020, the industry has been left angered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement on Monday that proof of full vaccination will become a condition of entry to nightclubs from the end of September - once everyone over the age of 18 has had the opportunity to get two jabs. 

While the obligation for home-based working has come to an end, government officials are expecting a gradual return to offices, with many of those who are working from home choosing to continue this over the summer.

Public transport 

Restrictions may be easing but the pandemic is continuing to have an impact, with rail operator Northern warning customers that services may be disrupted by cancellations and timetable amendments this week. 

The company is seeing a large number of drivers and conductors either testing positive for Covid-19 or having to self-isolate. 

They said: “All customers are advised to check before they travel as the disruption could affect any routes in the North.” 

While replacement buses may be in operation, they too could be affected if there is a shortage of drivers. 

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