Four-step roadmap unveiled to ease national lockdown restrictions
The Government has announced its four-phase ‘roadmap’ to ease the national lockdown restrictions here in England, which could see all legal limits on social contact lifted by Monday 21 June.
The four conditional tests that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are as follows:
- The vaccine programme continues to go to plan
- Evidence suggests 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 do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions
All schools will be able to open fully – with outdoor activities and after-school sports allowed – from Monday 8 March, when it will also be permissible for two people to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic in an outdoor public space such as a park.
Secondary school pupils will be required to wear face coverings in classrooms and shared spaces like corridors and hallways though to help limit the prospective spread of infection among our educational settings.
Three weeks later, from Monday 29 March onwards, organised adult and children’s sport (EG: grassroots football) will return, while outdoor sports facilities like basketball and tennis courts shall also re-open. It will be allowed for gatherings of either six people or two households to take place outdoors too.
Hairdressers, libraries and non-essential retail shops will be permitted to reopen as the second section of the roadmap comes into effect from Monday 12 April. Indoor settings like gyms and swimming pools, and outdoor places such as alcohol takeaways, beer gardens, theme parks and zoos, will also be allowed to reopen at this point along with self-catering/self-contained holiday accommodation and camp sites.
Funerals and weddings will continue with up to 30 people and 15 guests respectively.
However, no indoor mixing between different households will be allowed – the wider social contact/mixing rules will therefore continue to apply in all settings.
Should the data then allow, the ‘Rule of Six’ for outdoor settings would be abolished with the onset of the third tranche of the roadmap from Monday 17 May, with a limit of 30 people in its place.
Up to that number of people (30) would be able to attend funerals, receptions, wakes and weddings in this third stage.
The ‘Rule of Six’ would apply in hospitality settings like pubs and – although social distancing remains – cinemas, hotels, performances and sporting events will reopen, with up to 10,000 spectators able to attend the very largest outdoor seated venues like football stadiums. Two households would also be able to mix indoors in phase three.
All legal limits on social contact could then potentially, all being well, be removed with the arrival of the fourth and final stage from Monday 21 June.
This would see the last remaining closed venues like nightclubs reopen, with the Government also hopeful of abolishing restrictions on funerals and weddings at this point.
For further information, please visit the Government website (external link).
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