COVID-19: New ‘roadmap’ for lifting lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “very optimistic” that he will be able to remove all coronavirus restrictions in England by 21st June under his four-stage plan for lifting lockdown.

Under his roadmap for easing Covid-19 measures, the prime minister hopes “all legal limits on social contact can be removed” under the last of those four stages.

Asked how confident he was of reaching that target, Mr Johnson said: “I’m hopeful but obviously nothing can be guaranteed and it all depends on the way we continue to be prudent and continue to follow the guidance in each stage.

“That’s why it’s so important to proceed in the cautious way that we are.”

After the first stage in March, further lifting of the rules will happen if certain conditions are met – such as the vaccine rollout going to plan.

Each stage will be a minimum of five weeks apart. Four conditions must be met at each stage before proceeding to the next one:
• The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
• Vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
• Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
• New coronavirus variants do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions

STAGE 1
New rules from 8th March

• All schools and colleges will reopen
• University students can return for practical courses. There will be a review by the end of the Easter holidays for all other students
• Face coverings are recommended in class for secondary school students and also for parents and staff in primary schools
• Wraparound childcare can also return for vulnerable pupils and where it is needed for parents or carers to go to work, support groups or to seek medical care
• Two people from different households can meet outside for recreation, which can include “a coffee on a bench”
• One nominated person can visit care homes, but will need PPE, a lateral flow test and to “keep physical contact to a minimum”
• Weddings attended by up to six people can take place in any circumstances

Rules from 29th March

• People will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the “rule of six”, including in private gardens
• The stay at home rule will end but people should stay local as much as possible
• Outdoor sport facilities will reopen, including golf courses and tennis and basketball courts
• Formally organised outdoor sports can also restart
• Parents and children groups can return but are capped at 15 and must be outdoors. Indoor groups can take place for vulnerable children and where parents need the groups to go to work

STAGE 2
Rules no earlier than 12th April

• All shops allowed to open
• Restaurants and pub gardens will be allowed to serve customers sitting outdoors, including alcohol
• Gyms and spas can reopen for individuals and households
• Hairdressers, beauty salons and other “close contact services” can reopen
• UK domestic holidays away from home permitted, with self-contained accommodation able to reopen for use by members of the same household
• Children allowed to attend indoor play activities, with up to 15 parents or guardians allowed to join them
• Zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas can reopen
• Libraries and community centres can reopen
• Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place

STAGE 3
Rules no earlier than 17th May

• People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors
• Six people or two households can meet indoors
• Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors
• Up to 30 people can meet to celebrate weddings or other life events, like christenings
• Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can open
• Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas can open
• Performances and large events will be subject to limits though. For indoor events they can be at half capacity or 1,000 people, and outdoors they can be at half capacity or 4,000 people – whichever is lower. For large venues (at least 40,000 capacity) up to 10,000 will be allowed to attend
• Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen
• International leisure travel will resume no earlier than 17th May
• Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can start up again

STAGE 4
Rules no earlier than 21st June

• All legal limits on social contact will be removed
• No legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events. From April, the government will run pilots for events such as large weddings, festivals and work conferences. This will help to determine how measures such as enhanced testing might allow large groups to attend without social distancing
• Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen

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