A Roadmap to Summer Reopening

Boris Johnson has unveiled a four-step plan to take England out of its third national lockdown.

Measures will be eased, step by step, across the whole of England at the same time because the virus is viewed to be fairly uniformly spread across the country.

The ‘stay at home’ message seems to be in place until March 29, when it should only be ‘minimal travel’.

This “wretched year” will give way to a “spring and summer that will be very different” to the situation today, the Prime Minister said. He revealed his plans in four stages for the lockdown to be fully lifted.

What exactly did the Prime Minister say?

Making a statement in the Commons, the Prime Minister said:

“The threat remains substantial with the numbers in hospital only now beginning to fall below the peak of the first wave in April. But we are able to take these steps because of the resolve of the British people and the extraordinary success of our NHS in vaccinating more than 17.5 million people across the UK.”

He added that

“no vaccine can ever be 100% effective”, telling MPs: “So, as the modelling released by Sage today shows, we cannot escape the fact that lifting lockdown will result in more cases, more hospitalisations and sadly more deaths.

And this would happen whenever lockdown is lifted whether now or in six or nine months because there will always be some vulnerable people who are not protected by the vaccines.

“There is therefore no credible route to a zero Covid Britain, or indeed, a zero Covid world and we cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that debilitate our economy, our physical and mental wellbeing and the life chances of our children.”

He added: “Today the end really is in sight and a wretched year will give way to a spring and a summer that will be very different and incomparably better than the picture we see around us today.”

The PM confirmed to MPs that all pupils in all year groups can go back to the classroom from March 8, with outdoor after-school sports and activities also allowed to restart.

From March 8 until March 29, it will only be two people allowed distanced one-to-one meetings with others outdoors in a public space.

Another three phases follow that – all five weeks apart from each other.

The four phases are as follows:

  • The first phase will be surrounding two key dates in March. The first is March 8 when schoolchildren of all ages will return the classroom, socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person will also be permitted from that date. A further easing of restrictions will take place on March 29 when the school Easter holidays begin with larger groups of up to six people or two households allowed to gather in parks and gardens.
  • In the second phase from April 12 at the earliest, shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions, and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will reopen. Indoor leisure (including gyms) can open for use one-to-one or within household groups. The number of people at a funeral will increase to 30, while 15 are allowed at wakes, weddings, and receptions.
  • From May 17 at the earliest, two households or groups of up to six people will be allowed to mix indoors and limited crowds will be allowed at sporting events. Organised indoor sport will be allowed – this will include fitness classes. ‘Most significant life events’ will have a 30 people limit.
  • From June 21 at the earliest, all remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted, larger events can go ahead, and nightclubs could finally reopen. It is hoped at this point there will be no legal limits on social contact or on all life events – including weddings.

How about international travel?

There will be no international travel until at least May 17 – at the very earliest.

It is only in step three when this is mentioned and even then, it will be subject to review. Staycations are an option as all remaining accommodation is set to reopen with domestic overnight stays also allowed at this point.

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