Latest rules and advice for residents
On this page you can find out about the latest mandatory rules across England as well as some advice about what we can all do to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 across Stockton-on-Tees.
What are the rules?
The Government has put in place some temporary measures in response to the Omicron variant of COVID-19. It means that:
- Face coverings are required by law in most indoor public places. A full list of places where face coverings must be worn can be found on the Government's Face Coverings web page.
- Office workers who can work from home should do.
- Certain venues and events are required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have a negative test in the last 24 hours or have an exemption. You can use your NHS COVID Pass for this.
- Anyone who is not fully vaccinated who is travelling to the UK must show a negative pre-departure test (LFD or PCR) as close as possible to departure and not more than 48 hours before.
- Fully vaccinated people arriving in the UK must take a lateral flow test on day two but do not need to self-isolate while waiting for the result. This test must be bought from a private test provider - free NHS tests are not allowed. Unvaccinated passengers will need to take PCR tests on day two and day eight, and self-isolate for ten days.
- Fully vaccinated adults (people who have had at least two jabs) and all children over 5 who are identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 should take a rapid lateral flow test every day for seven days. If any of these results are positive you should self-isolate and book a PCR test.
- All unvaccinated adults must self-isolate for ten days if they are the contact of someone with COVID-19.
You can read about the latest rules on the Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread page on the GOV.UK website.
What else can I do to keep myself and others safe?
There are some simple things we can all do to help protect ourselves and others.
COVID vaccines are available for everyone aged 12 or over.
COVID-19 vaccinations and booster
If you are over 16 you can find out how to get a vaccination on the NHS website or you can visit a walk-in vaccination clinic. If you haven't already, please make sure you get both doses to ensure the best level of protection. You can get your second dose twelve weeks after your first.
Booster vaccinations are currently being offered to anyone over 18 who has already had two doses of the vaccine more than three months ago and anyone aged 16 or over with a health condition that puts you at high risk from COVID-19
You can get the booster in a number of ways:
- Via your GP (they will contact you if you are eligible)
- At a walk-in clinic. There is one at Wellington Square, 1pm to 5.30pm, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group has published a list of walk-in clinics on its website.
- Booster jabs can also be pre-booked through the national NHS booking system. You can pre-book your booster dose online if it's been 2 months (61 days) since you had your 2nd dose.
The UK Health Security Agency has produced a COVID-19 booster leaflet which provides further information.
You can also read a guide to booster vaccinations for those aged 40 and above.
Children aged 12-15
Children aged 12-15 are currently being invited for a first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Children can either have their vaccination at school or by booking an appointment using the NHS booking system.
Here is a COVID-19 vaccine leaflet with more information for children and young people.
You can also read a guide for eligible children and young people aged 12 to 17.
Public Health England produced a leaflet to explain what to expect after having the first COVID-19 vaccination. It answers common questions like “What are the side effects?” and “When can I go back to my normal activities?
The UK Health Security Agency has produced a COVID-19 second dose for 16-17 year olds leaflet.
The following guides are available for pregnant or breastfeeding women:
Vaccine information is also available in additional languages on the BBC website:
If you have symptoms, stay at home and book a test even if you have been vaccinated.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- A high temperature;
- A new, continuous cough;
- And a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
If you have these symptoms – no matter how mild – you must book a test online or call 119. It is important that you do this as soon as possible.
It’s also important that you and everyone in your household stays at home to self-isolate.
If you receive a positive PCR test you will need to self isolate for 10 days. People who receive negative LFD results on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period – with tests taken 24 hours apart – will no longer have to self-isolate for the full 10 days. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period. This does not apply to Health and Social Care workers who should speak to their employers for the most up to date guidance.
Those who leave self-isolation on or after day 7 are strongly advised to limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, work from home and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID- 19.
If you don't have symptoms you should take a different type of test called a Lateral Flow Device test.
The Government advises that one in three people who have COVID-19 do not experience symptoms. By testing using a lateral flow device test you can find out if you have COVID-19 so you know if you need to self-isolate to prevent passing the virus on to others.
You may wish to take a rapid lateral flow test on days when you’re more likely to catch or spread COVID-19, such as before you mix with people in crowded indoor places or visit people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19.
More information about how to get can be found on our COVID-19 testing page.
Self-isolate when required
If you receive a positive PCR test you will need to self isolate for ten days, although it is now possible to end self-isolation after seven days, following two negative lateral flow tests taken on day six and day seven – with tests taken 24 hours apart.
Those who leave self-isolation on or after day 7 are strongly advised to limit close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, work from home and minimise contact with anyone who is at higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID- 19, further advice is available from .GOV
If you are informed you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you can expect a call from a Test and Trace advisor. Please co-operate with them and give them accurate information. They will advise what you need to do.
- All unvaccinated adults must self-isolate for ten days if they are the contact of someone with COVID-19.
- All international arrivals must take a PCR test before the end of day two and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
You should also self-isolate in the following circumstances:
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you must self-isolate and book a PCR test
- If you are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the virus, and any of the following apply:
- you are fully vaccinated
- medically exempt from vaccination
- have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- are under 18 and 6 months,
You should take a PCR test and self-isolate if the result is positive. You will need to self-isolate for ten days starting from when you took the test, or if you develop symptoms, for ten days from when they started.
- If you aren’t fully vaccinated and are identified as a close contact you should self-isolate immediately, book a PCR test and continue to self-isolate regardless of whether the result is positive or negative. If your result is negative the period of isolation is ten days since you were last in contact with the person who tested positive. If your result is positive you will need to isolate for ten days starting from when you took the test, or if you develop symptoms, for ten days from when they started.
- If you weren't fully vaccinated until less than 14 days ago and you have been identified as a close contact you should self-isolate, book a PCR test and continue to self-isolate regardless of whether the result is positive or negative. If your result is negative the period of isolation is ten days since you were last in contact with the person who tested positive. If your result is positive you will need to isolate for ten days starting from when you took the test, or if you develop symptoms, for ten days from when they started.
If you are identified as a close contact but do not need to isolate, you are advised to limit contact with the clinically extremely vulnerable, take regular lateral flow tests, wear a face covering in enclosed spaces and practice social distancing for ten days after your contact with the confirmed case.
Information about Test and Trace is available in Punjabi, Gujarati, Sylheti, Tamil and Urdu on the BBC website.
Please be aware you may also need to self-isolate following international travel. Please follow the latest Government guidance.
Follow these safe practices
Continue to maintain good hand hygiene and regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
Wearing face coverings in busy indoor areas will help to protect you and those around you. It is mandatory to wear face coverings in shops and on public transport.
Meet outdoors or allow fresh air to circulate indoors while spending time with others because the fresh air dilutes the virus particles and can blow them away.
Even if you have had the COVID-19 vaccine it is important to continue to follow this advice because although the evidence is really strong that the vaccine is effective, no vaccine is 100 per cent effective.
Here is some advice on how you can help to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Translations and an easy read version of this advice can be found here.
There is also a range of advice in easy read format from the charity Mencap.
Download the NHS COVID Pass
The NHS COVID pass allows people to demonstrate that they are at a lower risk of carrying COVID-19 and transmitting it to others, by showing their test result or vaccination status. This can help businesses and organisations reduce the risk of transmission. Use of the Pass is voluntary but is encouraged to be used in facilities or events where people are likely to be in close proximity with a large number of people outside of their household, for a sustained period of time.
The NHS COVID Pass is available in the NHS app, on the NHS website, or as a letter requested by calling NHS 119.
Use the NHS COVID-19 Contact Tracing App
Sign up and use the NHS COVID-19 tracing app. There is an easy to use QR code to scan when entering eligible premises. See a full list of premises that need to collect test and trace information.
Get a Flu Vaccine
If you are eligible for a flu vaccine, it's now more important than ever to get it. If you are a parent/carer and your child is eligible for a flu vaccination please make sure they get the vaccination.
It’s not just about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting other people too, particularly those who are most vulnerable to the effects of the virus.
If you are concerned about a possible outbreak
Two or more cases of COVID-19 may be considered as an outbreak. An outbreak could happen at a workplace, a school or nursery or any other place such as a gym or shop. The local public health outbreak response team can provide advice about who needs to self- isolate and how long for, help identify close contacts and further measures to manage and control an outbreak. You can contact the team by completing the online form.
You can also contact the team to:
- Report cases of COVID-19 within the Stockton-on-Tees area.
- Provide an update on a previously reported Coronavirus concern.
- Report a business not following COVID rules.
- Request advice regarding COVID-19.
For information on what to do if you think you have Coronavirus go to the NHS website.
Unfortunately Coronavirus is being used as the basis for new scams - for information about this go to Friends Against Scams.
A guide on Coping Strategies for Anxious Times is available including in a range of languages.
50 humanitarian organisations have produced a children's storybook to help children aged 6-11 cope with coronavirus, available online and as an audiobook in 24 languages
Samaritans – If you’re worried about your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak you can visit the Samaritans website for help and support.
Barnardo's - Are offering a free telephone helpline and web chat facility for children, young people and their families from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities with staff available to talk in English, Urdu or Hindi. Visit Barnardo's website for further details.
Cruse Bereavement Care - Freephone National Helpline is staffed by trained bereavement volunteers who offer emotional support to anyone affected by bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can call Cruse on 0808 808 1677 - lines are open Monday-Friday 9.30am-5pm (excluding bank holidays), with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings when they’re open until 8pm. Email [email protected] or visit the Cruse Bereavement Care website for further information.