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‘The end really is in sight’: England’s Roadmap out of National Lockdown

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced on Monday 22 February the current national lockdown in England will be eased in four steps, with a minimum of five weeks between each step. The more gradual approach to ending restrictions will give the Government the opportunity to understand what impact the lifting of restrictions is having on rates of transmission. 

The Prime Minister announced that he hopes that all restrictions can be lifted by Monday 21 June, but the introduction of each step will depend on four “tests”:

  • The success of the vaccine rollout
  • The number of hospital admissions and deaths falling
  • The amount of pressure on the NHS
  • The impact of any variants 

Step one:

From Monday 8 March

  • The stay at home order remains in place
  • All students return to schools and colleges, and after-school clubs can resume
  • Secondary school students will be required to wear masks in class as well as communal areas
  • People can meet one other person outside for recreation, not just exercise
  • Care home residents allowed one regular named visitor, but will need PPE, a lateral flow test and to “keep physical contact to a minimum”
  • Weddings attended by up to six people can take place in any circumstances

From Monday 29 March

  • Stay at home order ends but people encouraged to stay local wherever they can
  • Outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two households allowed, including meeting in private gardens
  • Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts and outdoor swimming pools allowed to reopen; organised outdoor sports can resume
  • Parents and children groups can return but are capped at 15 and must be outdoors. Indoor groups can take place for vulnerable children and where parents need the groups to go to work
  • Work from home wherever possible
  • No overseas travel

Step two:

No earlier than Monday 12 April

  • Non-essential retail, hairdressers and nail salons will reopen
  • There will be no curfew under step two and there will be no requirement to be accompanied by a “substantial meal”
  • Gyms and spas can reopen for individuals and households 
  • Holiday lets will reopen but only for individuals or household groups
  • Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve people outdoors 
  • Children allowed to attend indoor play activities, with up to 15 parents of guardians allowed to join them
  • Zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas can reopen
  • Libraries and community centres can reopen
  • Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place

Step three:

No earlier than Monday 17 May

  • Most restrictions outdoors will be lifted, subject to a limit of 30 people
  • Mixing indoors allowed for two households, but rule-of-six for indoor hospitality and elsewhere
  • Cinemas, soft play centres, rest of accommodation sector, hotels, indoor exercise classes will reopen
  • Pubs and restaurants will be reopened indoors
  • Performances and sporting events resume - larger performances with venues 1,000+ or half full will be allowed indoors and outdoors 4,000 capacity or half full (whichever lowest)
  • In very largest outdoor seated venues such as football stadiums up to 10,000 people allowed to attend (or 1/4 full whichever is lowest)
  • Up to 30 people can attend weddings, receptions, funerals, wakes
  • International leisure travel will resume no earlier than 17 May
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can start up again

Step four:

No earlier than Monday 21 June

  • All legal limits on social contact will be removed
  • No legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events. From April, the government will run pilots for events such as large weddings, festivals and work conferences. This will help to determine how measures such as enhanced testing might allow large groups to attend without social distancing
  • Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen

For more information about the easing of England’s current lockdown, visit Gov.uk – COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021.

It’s important to note that these steps apply only to England. If you live in, or regularly visit, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, these timings may vary, and brief information regarding the plans of each country can be found here.