Lockdown easing roadmap: the key dates for you
There are four steps in the roadmap, with a gap of at least five weeks between each of these steps. This gap is designed to provide time for the government and its scientific advisers to monitor what the impact of that loosening has been and whether it is appropriate to proceed with the next stage.
Before moving onto the next step, the government plans to assess the impact of the previous step by looking at four key tests:
- Vaccine deployment is continuing successfully
- Vaccines are effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put undue pressure on the NHS
- No new ‘variants of concern’ emerge which would affect the assessment of risks
The key dates for you
Let’s run through the provisional dates for each of the four steps of unlocking lockdown. The government has emphasised that these dates are simply aspirational, and so if they need to hold off on moving to the next stage they will do so.
The first stage will see all children and students return to face-to-face lessons in schools and colleges. Alongside this, some university students on practical courses will resume lessons.
Wraparound childcare and other supervised children’s activities such as breakfast and after-school clubs will resume.
Care home residents will be allowed one regular visitor, so long as they are tested for Covid-19 and wear PPE.
People can leave home for recreation outdoors with one other person outside their household
Confusingly, there is a second part to step one, which comes on 29th March. At this point outdoor gatherings ‒ which can take place in private gardens as well as public areas like parks ‒ of either six people or two households will be allowed.
Outdoor sports facilities, like tennis and basketball courts, will be allowed to reopen and formally organised outdoor sports will resume.
Non-essential retail, hairdressers, nail salons and public buildings ‒ like libraries ‒ will reopen.
Outdoor attractions like zoos and theme parks will also reopen, albeit with wider social contact rules in place.
Also opening at this point will be indoor leisure facilities like gyms and swimming pools, but only for use by people on their own or with their household.
Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only, with no requirement for people to order a ‘substantial’ meal nor any curfew.
Self-contained accommodation, like a holiday let, can reopen too, while funerals can continue with up to 30 attendees. The numbers who are permitted to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events will increase at this point from six to 15.
At this point, most social contact rules outdoors will be listed. Outdoor cinemas, theatres and cinemas can reopen, while indoor hospitality and entertainment venues (like cinemas and soft play centres) will reopen, albeit still being subject to the ‘rule of six’.
Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will start, while events in outdoor venues can have crowds of 4,000 people or half-full, whichever is lower.
In the largest outdoor venues, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend, so long as this is less than a quarter-full.
The capacities for events like weddings, receptions and wakes will increase to up to 30 people.
Finally, on 21st June, the hope is that all legal limits on social contact can be dropped. As a result, nightclubs will then reopen and restrictions will be lifted on large events and performances.