Speaking this afternoon in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister stated that there was “no credible route to a zero Covid Britain” and as such “we cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that debilitate our economy, our physical and mental well being, and the life chances of our children”.
The unlocking of lockdown will happen in phases and be dependent on four conditions including the continued successful deployment of the vaccine, evidence the programme is reducing deaths and hospitalisations, no risk of infection rates surging and that any new variants do not change the risk level.
Schools in England will reopen on the 8th March, and people will be allowed to meet one other person from outside their household for outdoor recreation.
This will be followed by further relaxations from the 29th March including two households or up to six people being allowed to meet outside and the end of people being legally required to stay at home.
Outdoor sports, including football, golf and tennis, will be allowed to resume from the 29th March as well.
Shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality will re-open from the 12th April in England.
Also from the 12th April, pubs and restaurants will reopen for outside dining with no curfews, as will zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres.
Step three would start on the 17th May with most social contact rules lifted, as well as limited mixing indoors. You will be able to meet friends and family indoors (subject to the rule of six) and pubs and restaurants will start to serve indoors. At this point hotels, cinemas and venues such as theatres and stadiums will also open.
The 21st June would see the end of all legal limits on social contact.
The Prime Minister also explained that the Government would not “pull the rug out” from under businesses that are utilising the available support schemes “for the duration of the pandemic”. Promising to protect jobs and livelihoods across the country, and that the Chancellor will set out further details in next Wednesday’s Budget (register here for KJG’s review of the budget)
He ended by saying: “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!”