The Government has announced a roadmap on how lockdown measures will be eased in England over coming months.
The roadmap outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, the government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.
There is caution with the easing of restrictions and each phase can only take place if certain conditions are met at each stage.
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
- 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.
From 8 March 2021
- All schools will open with outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed.
- Wraparound childcare and other supervised children’s activities can resume where they enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group
- Care home residents will be allowed one regular visitor provided they are tested and wear PPE
- The Stay at Home requirement will remain, but people can leave home for recreation outdoors such as a coffee or picnic with their household or support bubble, or with one person outside their household
- Some university students on practical courses will be able to return to face-to-face learning
From 29 March 2021
- Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed. This includes in private gardens.
- Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, will be allowed to reopen, and people can take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
No earlier than 12 April 2021
- 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 will also reopen, although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.
- Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen – but only for use by people on their own or with their household
- Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only.
No earlier than 17 May 2021
- Further easing of restrictions, such as indoor hospitality and theatres and cinemas opening will begin on 17 May at the earliest.
No earlier than 21 June 2021
- It is hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed, nightclubs re-open and lift restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step Three.
- This will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.