The Prime Minister has announced the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease national lockdown restrictions in England, , which could see all legal limits on social contact lifted by 21 June. We are able to take these steps of easing lockdown because of the resolve of the British public and the extraordinary success of our NHS in vaccinating more than 17.5 million people across the UK (as of 22nd Feb 2021). Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of the previous step. At every stage decisions would be led by data not dates - only if strict conditions are met will the new four-step plan be allowed to proceed at the dates that have been outlined. This will ensure we do not undo the incredible progress we have made so far. 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.
- Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
As part of the first step of the plan for easing lockdown in England, from 8 March all schools will open with outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed. Recreation in an outdoor public space, such as a park, will be allowed between two people - meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic.
From 29 March, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed. This will include gatherings in private gardens. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children's sport, such as grassroots football, will also return.
- Schools and colleges reopen for all students
- Recreation or exercise outdoors with household or one other person. No household mixing indoors.
- Stay at home.
- Funerals of 30, wakes and weddings of 6.
- Rule of 6 or two households outdoors.
- Outdoor sports and leisure facilities.
- Organised outdoor sport allowed.
- Minimise travel. No holidays.
The second step, at least five weeks after Step 1, no earlier than 12th April, would see major parts of the economy permitted to reopen, including non-essential retail, hairdressers and outdoor settings like alcohol takeaways, beer gardens. Also indoor leisure like swimming pools and gyms and self-contained holiday accommodation, such as self-catering lets and camp sites. Wider social contact rules will continue to apply in all settings - meaning no indoor mixing between different households will be allowed. The second step will also see the end of hospitality curfews and requirements to eat a substantial meal alongside alcohol. Funerals continue with up to 30 people, and weddings with up to 15 guests.
- Indoor leisure (including gyms) open for use individually or within household groups.
- Rule of 6 or two households outdoors. No household mixing indoors.
- Outdoor attractions such as zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas.
- Libraries and community centres.
- Personal care premises.
- All retail.
- Outdoor hospitality.
- All children’s activities.
- Domestic overnight stays (household only).
- Self-contained accommodation (household only).
- Funerals (30), wakes and weddings (15).
- Minimise travel. No international holidays.
- Event pilots begin.
The third step will come from 17 May - if the data allows - and will see the "rule of six" abolished for outdoor gatherings, replaced with a limit of 30 people. The easing of restrictions in step three will mean two households can mix indoors - with the rule of six applied in hospitality settings like pubs, and cinemas, hotels, performances and sporting events reopen.
- Indoor entertainment and attractions open- though social distancing remains
- 30 person limit outdoors.
- Rule of 6 or two households indoors.
- Domestic overnight stays.
- Organised indoor or adult sport.
- Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes
- No limit on people at funerals - number of people who can attend a funeral will be determined by how many people the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing.
- Remaining outdoor entertainment (including performances).
- Remaining accommodation.
- Some large events: indoor 1,000 or 50%, outdoor 4,000 or 50%, outdoor seated 10,000 or 25%.
- Up to 10,000 spectators can attend the very largest outdoor seated venues like football stadiums
- International review – subject to review.
The fourth step will be at least 5 weeks after Step 3, no earlier than 21st June and will potentially see all legal limits on social contact removed, with the final closed sectors of the economy reopened - such as nightclubs. The Government hopes that - from this date - restrictions on weddings and funerals will also be abolished.
- No legal limits on social contacts.
- Larger events.
- No legal limit on all life events.