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Roadmap out of lockdown

Coronavirus update Published Monday, 22 February 2021

A plan to ease lockdown in England has been announced.

Today the Prime Minister announced a 4-step plan to ease lockdown in England

From 8 March, people in England will see restrictions start to lift.

The roadmap outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Key dates include:

  • Step 1
    • 8 March
    • 29 March
  • Step 2 No earlier than 12 April (at least 5 weeks after Step 1)
  • Step 3 No earlier than 17 May (at least 5 weeks after Step 2)
  • Step 4 No earlier than 21 June (at least 5 weeks after Step 3)

Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.

This assessment will be based on four tests:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  • The assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions; followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.

Step 1

Provided the four tests outlined by the Government are met, step 1 will begin on 8 March:

  • All children and students can safely return to schools and colleges, there will be twice weekly rapid testing for secondary and college pupils in addition to regular testing for all teachers.
  • Wraparound childcare, such as after-school clubs, can reopen to enable parents to work, attend education, access medical care or attend a support group.
  • People can leave home for recreation outdoors with their household, support bubble or one other person from outside their household.
  • Care home residents will be allowed a regular visitor.

Then from 29 March:

  • Outdoor gatherings of either up to six people from different households or a larger group from up to two households will be allowed.
  • Outdoor sports facilities will be allowed to reopen and organised outdoor sport can resume.
  • All outdoor supervised children’s activities can restart as can outdoor parent and child groups for a maximum of 15 people, excluding under 5s.
  • You will be able to leave home, but should still work from home if you can and minimise travel as much as possible. International holidays will still not be allowed at this stage.

The subsequent steps are set out as follows:

Step 2, no earlier than 12 April:

  • Non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, will reopen.
  • Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances will also be permitted.
  • Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will be allowed to reopen - but only for use by people on their own or with their household.
  • Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only. There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and no curfew - although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.
  • Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
  • Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (from 6).

Step 3, no earlier than 17 May:

  • Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
  • Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen.
  • Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply.
  • Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.
  • Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).
  • In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
  • Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. Other life events that will be permitted include bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Step 4, no earlier than 21 June:

  • It is hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed.
  • It is hoped that nightclubs will be able to reopen, and restrictions lifted on large events and performances that apply in Step 3.
  • This will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.

In the meantime, the vaccination programme continues at pace, with the announcement of a new target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to every adult by the end of July.

The roadmap can be found in full here.


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