Prime minister reveals road map out of Covid restrictions
- Credit: PA Images/PA Wire
The prime minister has set out the road map for life in the UK to return to normal over the next few months.
Boris Johnson said the reopening of schools and reuniting loved ones are among the top priorities as he revealed his road map out of lockdown in the House of Commons on Monday.
Mr Johnson used his speech to indicate the "cautious" approach the government will look to take for easing coronavirus restrictions across England, with will be measured against four tests.
The Government will take into account the success of the vaccine rollout, whether there is evidence they are reducing hospital admissions and deaths, the level of infection rates and the presence of any new Covid variants.
Easing will happen across the country at the same time, rather than regionally, allowing the government to examine data before unlocking further, and giving five weeks between the next stages of restriction.
Mr Johnson said: "The sequence will be driven by the evidence so outdoor activity will be prioritised as the best way to restore freedoms while minimising the risk.
"At every stage our decisions will be led by data not dates and subjected to four tests.
"First, that the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully. Second, that evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths.
"Third, that infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS and fourth, that our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of Covid that cause concern."
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Here is the road map in full:
- In addition to pupils of all ages returning to the classroom, outdoor after-school sports and activities also allowed to restart.
- People will also be permitted to have socially distanced one-to-one meetings with others outdoors in a public space - meaning friends and family members could sit down for a coffee or have a picnic in the park.
- Care home residents will be allowed a single visitor, with visitors required to take a lateral flow test and wear personal protective equipment.
- In the second part of the first phase, larger groups could be allowed to gather in parks and gardens from March 29 - when the "stay at home" order will end, with messaging moving to "stay local".
- The "rule of six" will return, meaning up to six people or two households will be able to meet outdoors.
- Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts are also set to reopen at the end of next month, with organised adult and children's sport - including grassroots football - able to return.
- The second stage of the road map will not come in any sooner than April 12, when non-essential retail, personal care premises - such as hairdressers and nail salons - libraries and museums will be permitted to reopen.
- Indoor gyms and leisure facilities, such as swimming pools, will be permitted to reopen, but the requirements for social contact in indoor settings will continue.
- This means people will only be permitted to visit a museum or exercise in a gym alone or with their own household.
- Hospitality venues will be permitted to reopen but for outdoor purposes only, meaning restaurants and pubs will only be able to serve customers outside, where the rule of six or two households will apply.
- The requirement for a substantial meal and curfews will both be scrapped, but customers will need to be seated when ordering food or drink.
- Self-contained accommodation, such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, will also be able to reopen for overnight stays by households only.
- Funerals will be able to continue with up to 30 people, while the number of people who can attend wedding receptions and wakes will rise from the current six to 15.
- The prime minister will then look to ease limits on social contact to allow friends and families to meet indoors, but no earlier than May 17.
- In addition to the outdoor rules set out in stage two, up to six people or a larger group from up to two households will be permitted to meet indoors, but this is subject to review.
- Indoor hospitality - inside pubs and restaurants - is set to open up at this point, where the rule of six or two household rule will apply, alongside entertainment venues such as cinemas and children's play areas.
- Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues, with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full, whichever is lower, will be allowed, while outdoors it will be 4,000 people or half-full, again whichever is lower.
- Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals, and other life events will be permitted, such as bar mitzvahs and christenings.
- The last step will be no earlier than June 21 - and at least five weeks after the third step - when it is hoped that all legal limits on social contact will be removed.
- It is also hoped that the final closed sectors of the economy, such as nightclubs, could be allowed to reopen, while restrictions on large events could also be eased.