FREEDOM Day has arrived with the majority of Covid restrictions in Oxford coming to an end today.

Social distancing, wearing face masks, limits on how many people can meet and capacity rules are no longer legal requirements.

ALSO READ: Everything you need to know before you go on holiday during Covid

Instead, people will have to take personal responsibility for minimising the spread of Covid.

But despite the lifting of rules, businesses across the city will still encourage people to wear face masks.

People travelling on buses in the city will be asked to wear face coverings as Oxford Bus Company says it will still urge passengers to do so.

A spokesman said: “In line with Government guidelines we advise passengers to continue to wear a covering in crowded spaces and our on-board messaging will reflect this.

"Our position is any enforceable rules regarding face coverings would need to apply to all internal enclosed spaces."

ALSO READ: All the Covid hotspots in Oxford

The company will also continue to carry out enhanced cleaning and its travel app is still available to allow passengers to see how busy their bus is and plan their journey in advance.

thisisoxfordshire: Oxford in lockdown

We also asked Stagecoach whether it would urge customers to wear face masks but it said it was unable to comment at this time.

Theatres, museums and event spaces in Oxford are asking all audience members to wear a face covering whenever possible as well.

In a collective statement, the Oxford Cultural Partnership said: “We encourage our visitors to continue wearing masks and to practice social distancing so that we can all feel safe and protected.

"Hand sanitisers will be available in our venues and we trust that our visitors will make considered decisions in the interest of themselves and everyone around them and make use of the NHS check in app.

“With a sizeable number of staff, performers and volunteers, and indeed the public, not yet fully vaccinated we see this as an important step to protecting everyone involved in creating culture in Oxford, and kindly request that visitors remain considerate during this time.”

ALSO READ: 'We are in the third wave' says Vallance as Oxford cases soar

Oxford City councillor Mary Clarkson, cabinet member for culture and leisure, supports the decision saying it was made out of 'concern for their staff and audiences'.

Independent shops and supermarkets in Oxford are encouraging customers to wear face masks as well.

Rebecca McAllister, Oxford area manager of bookshop Blackwell's said: “We are keeping, for our staff, everything as it is. Everybody want’s to continue wearing masks, we want to keep the screens up, we have hand sanitiser throughout and we will gently encourage our customers to do the same.”

She added the bookseller is 'following Government guidelines' and although they will be encouraging customers to do the same, they will not force them to do so.

From today, nightclubs can reopen, pubs and restaurants won't be table-service only, there are no limits on guests at weddings and funerals and no limits on visitors to care homes.

ALSO READ: Group warns Prime Minister that lifting restrictions may have a 'devastating effect' on Long Covid

Because of the impact the pandemic has had on the hospitality industry, Oxfordshire Liberal Democrats, including MP Layla Moran, have launched a new petition calling on the Government to introduce a Covid Recovery Visa for the sector.

Ms Moran warned that without 'urgent intervention' many local businesses will be facing closure in the coming months.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or 01865 425 445.