On Monday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out a four-step roadmap to take England out of its Covid-19 lockdown, declaring that the nation was on a “one-way road to freedom.”
The roadmap falls under Johnson’s accelerated plan to “cautiously” reopen the economy of the United Kingdom. All being well, the government is hopeful that most of the economy will be able to open before the end of June.
The roadmap includes:
Step One- 8 March
All schools – primary and secondary – will open from 8 March. They will be allowed to restart outdoor sports matches as well as other outdoor activities.
Care home visits indoors will resume, including allowing residents to hold hands with visitors.
“We’re introducing twice-weekly testing of secondary school and college pupils and asking them to wear face coverings for the rest of this term,” Johnson said at a press conference on Monday.
Socialising in a public space will be relaxed, meaning one person can sit down with another individual from outside their household or bubble for a coffee, drink or picnic.
Step one will also have a second phase on March 29, where further restrictions will be lifted, letting groups of six to meet outside and two households to come together.
The lifting of measures will take place with at least a 5-week gap, the Prime Minister said, allowing 4-weeks for the government to gather the relevant data and 1-week to inform the public and sectors included.
The speed at which England will exit lockdown will be set against four key tests:
- How the vaccine rollout is progressing
- How vaccines are affecting hospitalizations and deaths
- That infection rates are staying low
- The new variants not undermining the other three criteria
Step Two – late April
Step two, which would happen no earlier than April 12 which will see the return of non-essential retail, such as hairdressers and some public buildings like libraries, museums.
- Outdoor settings like alcohol takeaways, beer gardens, zoos and theme parks
- Indoor leisure like swimming pools and gyms
- Self-contained holiday accommodation, such as self-catering lets and camp sites
Mr Johnson said a review of international leisure travel restrictions would be announced by 12 April at the earliest.
Step Three – middle of May
The third step will come from 17 May – if the data allows – and will remove most social distancing rules. Groups of up to 30 will be able to meet outdoors in a public space or private garden.
Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve indoors, though the rule of six will apply. Indoor entertainment like cinemas, museums, performances will also be allowed to resume, with venues allowed to host up to 1,000 people.
Spectators will be allowed to return to live outdoor sports like football, with up to 10,000 allowed to attend the largest venues, such as Wembley Stadium.
Mr Johnson said this step would also “consider the potential role of Covid status certification” – which could refer to so-called “vaccine passports” – in helping indoor venues to reopen safely.
Step Four – late June
The fourth step from 21 June will potentially see the removal of most social restrictions, with the final closed sectors of the economy reopened – such as nightclubs.
Personal life events like weddings will have no limitations if things go well. In the weeks and months leading up to step four, the government will carry out reviews on large outdoor events, such as music festivals.
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