Mr Johnson addressed the nation in a televised press conference last week, alongside Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, to give the green light for pubs, shops, hairdressers, gyms and a raft of other venues to reopen from today, which would allow them to operate for the first time in three months.
He also stated that moving to the next stage of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown was “fully justified” by the success of the vaccine rollout and the drop in cases and hospitalisations.
The Prime Minister has previously stated that decisions on the easing of restrictions as part of the “irreversible” roadmap will be led by data rather than dates, as it takes around four weeks for the data to show the impact of easing restrictions, and the government will then provide a further week’s notice to the public and businesses ahead of any further changes, so for that reason, there will be at least five weeks between the steps in the roadmap.
Before taking each step, the government will review the latest data on the impact of the previous step against four tests, which are:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- 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.
‘Step One’ of the roadmap was split into two, with the first restrictions eased on 8th March, followed by further changes on 29th March, but what’s in store for ‘Step Two’?
What are all the lockdown restrictions being lifted in England today?
Here’s everything you need to know:
- All non-essential retail stores, community centres, libraries, hairdressers and nail salons can reopen to the public.
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to reopen to serve people outdoors only, with customers not required to order a “substantial meal” in order to have an alcoholic drink.
- Gyms and other indoor leisure facilities are also to reopen, as well as outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas.
- Campsites, holiday lets and other forms of self-contained accommodation are due to reopen, providing that indoor facilities are not shared with other households.
- Parent and child groups (not counting children under five) can resume indoors.
- The number of guests allowed at a wedding will be able to increase to 15, and funerals will continue with the current number of guests limited to 30.
- Care home residents will be allowed to have two regular visitors indoors.
With regards to travel, the “stay at home” order was lifted as part of the second phase of ‘Step One’ on 29th March, but people should continue to work from home where they can, minimise domestic travel and are encouraged to “stay local”.
International holidays are still illegal, and social distancing rules still apply across England.
What restrictions are being lifted from 17th May?
If the data allows it, further restrictions will be lifted on 17th May as part of ‘Step Three’ of lifting England’s lockdown, which are:
- Up to 30 people from different households will be able to gather outdoors.
- Indoor hospitality will reopen, as well as indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, hotels, children’s play areas and indoor group sports and exercise classes.
- The limit on guests attending weddings, receptions and wakes will increase to 30.
The government has also said it will update advice on social distancing measures no later than this stage, and this will also be the earliest date at which international holidays may be able to resume.
This will all be subject to a prior government review.
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Featured Image – Mark Waugh | Flickr