PRIME Minister Boris Johnson today (Monday) announced a roadmap out of lockdown, with the hope of lifting all restrictions by 21st June.
In his Covid-19 statement to the Commons this afternoon, Mr Johnson announced four steps over the coming months in which various restrictions would be eased, with the hope of ultimately lifting them altogether.
In order to move from one step to another, four conditions will have to be met. These are:
- The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
- Evidence shows 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 variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions
There will be at least five weeks between each of the four steps, the PM said. Restrictions will be eased in all areas at the same time, and each stage of the four-part plan will be driven by data rather than dates, he added.
Step one starts on 8th March with all schools reopening, and recreation in outdoor public spaces, such as parks, allowed between two people.
The next part of step 1 on 29th March sees outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households allowed. This will include gatherings in private gardens. Also allowed at this point will be outdoor sports facilities and organised adult and children’s sport, such as grassroots football.
Secondary school pupils must wear face coverings in classrooms and shared spaces like corridors.
This is hoped to arrive on 12th April, with the opening of non-essential retail, hairdressers and public buildings such as libraries and museums. Also opening under this step are outdoor settings like alcohol takeaways, beer gardens, zoos, theme parks, indoor leisure and self-contained holiday accommodation
No indoor mixing between different households will be allowed, hospitality curfews will end, as well as requirements to eat substantial meals alongside alcohol.
Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and weddings with up to 15 guests.
If the conditions are met, the third step will come from 17th May and will see the ‘rule of six’ axed for outdoor gatherings, replaced with a limit of 30 people.
Two households can mix indoors, with the reopening of cinemas, hotels, performances and sporting events – although social distancing remains.
Up to 10,000 spectators will be able to attend the largest outdoor seated venues such as football stadiums. Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes.
The fourth step from 21st June may see all legal limits on social contact removed, with the final closed sectors of the economy reopened.