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What’s the roadmap for lifting lockdown?

A “roadmap” for easing Covid restrictions in England has been announced by the prime minister. After the first stage in March, further lifting of the rules will happen if certain conditions are met – such as the vaccine rollout going to plan. The aim is for all restrictions to be lifted, which will happen by 21 June at the earliest. Other parts of the UK aim to outline their plans for easing lockdown in the coming weeks.
Stage one is in two parts:

8 March

All schools and colleges will reopen

University students can return for practical courses. There will be a review by the end of the Easter holidays for all other students

Face coverings are recommended in class for secondary school students and also for parents and staff in primary schools

Wraparound childcare can also return for vulnerable pupils and where it is needed for parents or carers to go to work, support groups or to seek medical care

Two people from different households can meet outside for recreation, which can include “a coffee on a bench”

One nominated person can visit care homes, but will need PPE, a lateral flow test and to “keep physical contact to a minimum”

Weddings attended by up to six people can take place in any circumstances

A man visiting his relative in a care home

29 March

People will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the “rule of six”, including in private gardens

The stay at home rule will end but people should stay local as much as possible

Outdoor sport facilities will reopen, including tennis and basketball courts

Formally organised outdoor sports can also restart

Parents and children groups can return but are capped at 15 and must be outdoors. Indoor groups can take place for vulnerable children and where parents need the groups to go to work

Friends playing basketball

Stage two

No earlier than 12 April:

All shops allowed to open

Restaurants and pub gardens will be allowed to serve customers sitting outdoors, including alcohol

Gyms and spas can reopen for individuals and households

Hairdressers, beauty salons and other “close contact services” can reopen

UK “staycations” away from home permitted, with self-contained accommodation able to reopen for use by members of the same household

Children allowed to attend indoor play activities, with up to 15 parents or guardians allowed to join them

Zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas can reopen

Libraries and community centres can reopen

Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place

A waitress serving food in a pub garden
Stage three

No earlier than 17 May:

People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors

Six people or two households can meet indoors

Up to 30 people can meet to celebrate weddings or other life events, like christenings

Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can open

Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas can open

Performances and large events will be subject to limits though. For indoor events they can be at half capacity or 1,000 people, and outdoors they can be at half capacity or 4,000 people – whichever is lower. For large venues (at least 40,000 capacity) up to 10,000 will be allowed to attend

Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen to household groups

International travel will resume no earlier than 17 May

Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can start up again

Small group meeting indoors
All legal limits on social contact will be removed

No legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events. From April, the government will run pilots for events such as large weddings, festivals and work conferences. This will help to determine how measures such as enhanced testing might allow large groups to attend without social distancing

What are the four tests for easing restrictions?

Each stage will be a minimum of five weeks apart. Four conditions must be met at each stage before proceeding to the next one:

The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan

Vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment

Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions

New coronavirus variants do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions