In a long-awaited press briefing on Monday 22nd February, PM Boris Johnson revealed the cabinet’s strategy to leaving the national lockdown they implemented in early January.
The government has been stressing caution with lockdown relief, as they hope that this will be the last if they hope to have economic recovery this year.
Phase 1 (8th March)
From 8th March 2021, all school children will return to on-campus education. This accounts for over 6 million children across England, which has caused some controversy. Whilst the government cites caution in their lockdown relief plan, sending over six million children back to school in one day seems to contradict this.
Much of the opposition had called for a phased reopening of schools so as to assess the “vector” effect of school children.
Outdoor recreation will also be permitted on the 8th of March, whether it be on your own, with one other person, or with your household.
It will also be permitted for single named visitors to visit care homes.
Phase 1 (29th March)
Assuming data remains to trend downwards, the 29th of March will see further lockdown relief.
Outdoor sport like golf courses and leisure facilities will reopen.
The rule of 6 will return from summer, in which you may mix households outside, but no more than six members must meet.
Phase 2 (no earlier than 12 April)
This will only go ahead if the coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalisations continue to trend downwards.
Outdoor attractions such as zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas will reopen. Libraries and community centres will reopen. All non-essential retail and personal care premises will open. Outdoor hospitality will be permitted to serve people, assuming they follow social behaviour guidelines.
30 people will be allowed to visit funerals.
No international holidays will be permitted. Travel will be advised to be kept minimal.
Phase 3 (no earlier than 17 May)
Indoor entertainment and attractions may reopen. 30 person limit to gather outdoors, and rule of 6 indoors.
Many ceremonies (weddings, funerals etc.) will have a visitor cap of 30.
Large events will have limited capacities. Indoor events may only seat 1000, outdoor events only 4000, and outdoor seated events only 10,000.
International travel will be up for review.
Phase 4 (no earlier than 21 June)
This is once again reliant on a wholly downward trend of infection, deaths and hospitalizations, and a successful vaccine rollout.
This is the aspired final phase of lockdown relief, and sees almost a full return to pre-pandemic life.
It is aspired to remove all legal limits on social contact, all legal limits on guest capacity and the reopening of nightclubs and larger events.
Further information can be found in the UK Government’s COVID-19 Response for Spring 2021.
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