Boris Johnson has announced his long awaited Covid-19 exit road map, with key dates for when businesses can reopen and when people can start meeting back up.
The prime minister held a press conference in which he addressed the nation about to outlining the end England lockdown for good.
“Our approach is to move with the utmost care, and advancing in four steps, each with a minimum of five weeks apart so we can properly judge the effects of each relaxation before we move on.
“We will be led by data, not dates”, he added.
The first step has been divided into two phases as it follows:
Phase 1 to start on March 8:
- All schools will reopen with breakfast and afterschool clubs to restart
- Meeting two people will be allowed in an outdoor recreational space for a picnic or a drink
- Each care home resident will be allowed one regular visitor however they will need to wear PPE and take a lateral flow test.
- Students on practical higher education courses who are unable to complete their course without accessing practical teaching, using facilities or complete assessments will also return
- There will be twice a week test for everyone on school and university sites
- Face coverings will be worn for the rest of the term
Further restrictions to be lifted in Phase 2, starting on March 29:
- Outdoor gatherings between six people or two households will be allowed, including in private gardens.
- Outdoor sports facilities will reopen.
- People will be allowed to travel out of their local area but staying overnight will not be allowed.
The second step will start no earlier than April 12, and it will allow:
- Non-essential retail, hairdressers and public buildings like libraries and museums can open
- Outdoor settings like alcohol takeaways, beer gardens theme parks and zoos
- Indoor leisure like swimming pools and gyms
- Self-contained holiday accommodation such as self-catering and camp sites
- Government to review the possible return of students who do not need access to practical teaching, using facilities or complete assessments in person. A week’s notice will be given when this has been decided
The third step would start on May 17 and would alter:
- Abolishment of the rule of 6 and replaced with a maximum of 30 people for outdoor gatherings
- Two household can meet internally with the rule of six applied to public indoor spaces like pubs
- Domestic overnight stays
- Cinemas, hotels, sporting events and performances to reopen
- Up to 10,000 spectators can attend large outdoor seating venues
- 30 People can attend weddings, funerals, and receptions
- Foreign travel to resume – subject to review
The fourth and final step can begin on June 21, and it would mean:
- All legal limits on social contact removed, with the final sectors of the economy to reopen, including nightclubs
- Restrictions on weddings and funerals to be abolished
Measures such as social distancing will be reviewed.
The steps can be pushed back, the dates above represent the earliest that restrictions can be relaxed.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “The vaccines reduce the danger of covid.
“They save lives and they keep people out of hospital. But no vaccine against any disease has ever been 100 per cent effective.
“So whenever we ease lockdown, whether it’s today or in six, or nine months, we’ve got to be realistic and accept that there will be more infections, more hospitalisations and therefore, sadly, more deaths, just as there are every year with flu.
“We must strike a very careful balance.”
Johnson later said that “we will not go back” to these restrictions.
By Kieran Burt
Lead image: @10DowningStreet