The Prime Minister has been clear that we need to be cautious when exiting lockdown and that every step will be irreversible. Despite the rollout of the vaccinations, the threat of contracting Covid-19 is still substantial and the number of people currently ill with the virus across the UK is only starting to fall below the peak of the first wave in April.
There will be a period of 5 weeks in between each step of easing lockdown restrictions to ensure that we are keeping in line with the Government’s four key tests:
1. Vaccine deployment continues successfully,
2. Evidence shows vaccinations are effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated,
3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put pressure on the NHS,
4. Assessment of risk posed by new variants is not fundamentally changed.
The Government will be taking the following steps to ease lockdown:
Step 1 – From 8th March and 29th March:
- All schools to re-open to all pupils/students. Secondary/college students will have to wear facemasks initially and will be tested twice a week. Households with school children or those who have any contact with school are also encouraged to get tested regularly.
- You can also meet up with one other person from outside of your household – and not just for exercise. This includes meeting in private gardens, meeting for a picnic/coffee, but not to play tennis or golf at this stage.
- The Government will drop its ‘Stay At Home messaging and you will not be legally required to stay at home from the 29th March. However, working from home will still be advised where possible.
- ‘Rule of six’ will return – up to six people from different household or a larger group from two households can meet outside.
- Outdoor sports facilities can resume.
Step 2 – From 12th April:
- Non-essential retail (including hairdressers and beauty salons) can reopen.
- Zoos, libraries, museums and gyms can reopen, but no indoor mixing with other households is permitted.
- Pubs and restaurants can reopen outdoors with table service only – and the rule of six will still be in force. There will no longer be a requirement for customers to buy a substantial meal to have an alcoholic drink and there will also be no curfew.
- Holidays with your own household in the UK will be permitted
Step 3 – From 17th May:
- Family/friends can meet indoors while adhering to the Rule of Six.
- Pubs and restaurants will fully reopen – indoors and out.
- Up to 1000 people will be allowed to attend indoor performances or sporting events
- Up to 4000 people will be allowed to attend outdoor performances or sporting events
- Big sports stadium can have up to 10,000 spectators present or can only be a quarter full, whichever is lower.
- Weddings, receptions, and christenings will be allowed to resume with up to 30 people in attendance.
Step 4 – From 21st June:
- The Government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact by this date, which includes removal of maximum numbers allowed at weddings and other services.
- It is hoped that nightclubs can reopen and festivals will resume as well.
A review on international travel will be completed by the 12th April, but in any case, this will still not be allowed before 17th May at the earliest.
I know that we have all been in lockdown for a very long time, but I hope that the roadmap has provided more detail and given some light at the end of the tunnel out of this difficult time.
Please do get in touch with me if I can provide any help or assistance to you or your family.