Easing of Lockdown Summary

Easing Lockdown – A summary & Key Points

  • The Government says that the spread of the virus is roughly the same across the country, and, therefore, restrictions will be eased step-by-step across the whole of England at the same time.
  • There will continue to be national restrictions rather than regional tiers;
  • International travel will not resume before 17 May.
  • Pubs and restaurants will not reopen indoors until mid-May
  • The government will do whatever it takes to support jobs "for the duration of the pandemic".
  • It’s expected to include 4 steps, with step one split into 2 parts, with 5 weeks between each
  • All restrictions could be over by 21st June;

Step One, Part One (from 8 March): 

  • All schools and further education settings to open with outdoor after-school sports & activities also allowed.
  • Secondary school pupils will be required to wear face masks
  • Although schools etc.  are set to reopen to all pupils on 8th March, it is thought a few days' flexibility may be built in to allow measures like testing to be put in place.
  • Recreation in a public space – e.g. a park - allowed between 2 people, meaning they are allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic.
  • New rules will allow each care home resident in England to have one regular visitor, with whom they can hold hands.
  • 8th March chosen owing to the fact that by this date most people aged 70 and over, and people with serious medical conditions - were vaccinated by 15th February. The 8th March gives the vaccines the three weeks required to be effective, so those people should have some degree of immunity to Covid-19 by this date.

Step One, Part Two (from 29 March): 

  • 29th March - School Holidays begin; 4th April - Easter Sunday
  • The ‘Rule of Six’ will return
  • Outdoor gatherings of either 6 people or 2 households allowed, including in private gardens.
  • Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts and open-air swimming pools can reopen, and formally organised sports can restart.
  • People will no longer be legally required to stay at home but should work from home if they can and try not to travel.

Step Two (from 12th April):

  • From 12th April, non-essential retail, hairdressers and nail salons will reopen.
  • Outdoor venues such as hospitality venues, zoos and theme parks can reopen.
  • From 12th April, gyms and swimming pools will reopen, along with holiday lets but only for individuals or household groups; pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve people outdoors. Social mixing rules continue – therefore people can visit these outdoor venues individually, family groups, in groups of six, or larger groups with just two households.
  • There will be no 10pm curfew for pubs etc; and there will be no requirement to have a meal in order to buy a drink; however, you must be seated when you order anything.
  • Events such as weddings, wakes and funerals can be held with allowed with 15 people (up from 6 now).

Step Three (from 17th May):

  • To happen 'no earlier than' 17th May
  • Most restrictions outdoors will be lifted, subject to a limit of 30 people.
  • People will be able to see friends and family indoors subject to the meeting of two households.
  • Pubs and restaurants will reopen indoors with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcoholic drinks, and no curfew. The requirement to order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’) will remain
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can reopen.
  • Indoor entertainment, such as museums, cinemas and children’s play area together with adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can resume.
  • Remaining accommodation, such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs will reopen,

Step Four (from 21st June):

  • Step four in the easing of restrictions will happen no earlier than 21st June, when all legal limits on social contact including weddings will be removed.
  • The government will reopen everything up to and including nightclubs and hopes to lift restrictions on large events and performances "potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection".

At each stage of lockdown easing, four conditions will need to be met

  • The four tests that must be met before each lockdown step: Before moving on to each next step of easing lockdown, there are 4 conditions that must be met; Government says the 4 tests are currently being met, so the plan to begin easing on 8th March can go ahead. The 4 tests are:
  • The vaccine programme continues successfully
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or hospitalised
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • The assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.
  • The government is also launching a series of reviews to explore further ways of easing limits.
  • The first review will look at whether having a vaccine or a negative test result can reduce restrictions on social contact.
  • A second review will pilot the impact of testing and reduced social distancing on events.
  • A third will look at travel. International travel will not resume before 17th May, but a report on 12th April will look at how to facilitate more inbound and outbound travel.
  • A fourth will review social distancing measures, such as the one-metre-plus rule, rules on face coverings and working from home. This will conclude ahead of 21st June.