Posted: 22.02.21 at 17:10 by Philippa Davies
All schools in England will reopen on March 8 as the first step in the prime minister’s roadmap out of lockdown, announced on Monday afternoon.
Boris Johnson outlined four steps towards the return to normality and the end of all social restrictions, which is provisionally scheduled for June 21.
He announced target dates for reopening pubs, shops, restaurants and hairdressers, and re-starting sporting events.
But he said the impact of each step would be analysed and would have to pass four tests if the next step was to take place.
These tests are:
• The continuing successful deployment of the vaccination programme
• Evidence that the vaccinations are reducing hospitalisations and deaths
• Infection rates not risking a surge in hospitalisations
• The assessment of risks not being fundamentally changed by the emergence of a new variant of Covid.
Because it takes four weeks for the data to reflect the impact of relaxing restrictions, and in order to give businesses a week’s notice of the next step, there will be five weeks between each phase of the return to normality.
Boris Johnson said all schools for all pupils will reopen two weeks today and outdoor after-school sports and activities will be allowed to restart.
University students needing practical teaching, specialist facilities or on-site assessment can return, but all others must continue online learning, with this to be reviewed by the end of the Easter holidays.
From March 8 outdoor recreation with one other person will also be permitted.
It means people will be allowed to sit together in a park with a coffee, drink or picnic.
From March 29, groups of up to six people will be able to meet outside - including in private gardens. Two households will be allowed to meet in this way.
Tennis courts, golf courses and other outdoor sport facilities will also reopen on March 29 - the first Monday of the school Easter holidays.
Organised adults and children's sport, including grassroots football, will restart on this date.
The next step will be the reopening of non-essential shops, as well as hairdressers, barbers and nail salons.
Provided the four tests are passed, this will happen no earlier than April 12.
Pubs and restaurants will begin to open for outdoor service and there will be no curfew or requirement for people to order a substantial meal if they want to drink alcohol.
Zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas will open, as will public libraries and community centres.
Self-catering holidays in the UK will be allowed, but without the mixing of households.
The third step, again subject to the four tests being passed, will come into effect no earlier than May 17.
This will see the restrictions on outdoor meetings lifted, enabling up to 30 people to gather. Friends and family can also meet indoors, subject to the rule of six.
Pubs and restaurants will be able to open indoors, along with cinemas, children’s play areas, hotels and B&Bs, theatres and concert halls, and sports stadiums, with capacity limits.
Step 4, subject to the tests, will begin no earlier than June 21, and will aim to remove all legal limits on social contact. Weddings and other similar events can take place, nightclubs will reopen and large events such as theatre performances will go ahead, potentially using testing to reduce risk.
During the course of this easing of restrictions, other reviews will take place, including one by the Global Travel Task Force on international travel, aiming to give its verdict in time for people to plan their summer holidays.
The Government is aiming to offer all UK adults a Covid vaccine by the end of July.