Covid roadmap: What can you do from today?
- Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
England has taken its first steps along the government's 'roadmap' to the easing of lockdown restrictions.
It is the beginning of a process which, if all key targets are met, will see the vast majority of restrictions lifted by June 21 – allowing life to return to some semblance of normality.
Here's how the road out of restrictions looks for the country:
What can I do from today?
Schools and colleges will be open to all pupils from today, having only been previously allowing those of key workers and vulnerable children into the building since January.
While some young people in Norfolk have said they are nervous about returning to classrooms, for others it is a welcome return to normality – especially for those whose lack of internet or a computer meant they struggled to get online at home.
Meanwhile, care home visits will resume from today, with one nominated person able to go see a loved one. They cannot hug, but they can hold hands as long as they wear PPE and return a negative lateral flow test.
You can now also meet one other person from a separate household or bubble outdoors for recreational purposes, including a chat over a hot drink on a bench, for example.
But many of the other restrictions remain in force. People are still advised to stay at home where possible, only leaving for work, essential shopping, exercise and medical appointments.
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Exercise should still be carried out in your 'local area', and you can exercise with one other person from outside your household or bubble, as long as you maintain social distancing.
No indoor household mixing is allowed. Non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues remain closed.
The next planned easing of restrictions is on March 29, when the 'rule of six' comes back into play for meeting with other households outside.
You will no longer need to stay at home at all times, but you will still be asked to stay local where you can.
Weddings will be able to take place once again, but they can only be attended by six people – so it's best to keep holding off for now if you want a big family bash.
Organised outdoor sports can resume and outdoor sport facilities will be able to reopen, but indoor gyms and leisure facilities will have to keep their doors closed.
And after that?
Further easing of restrictions is planned for April 12, May 17 and, finally June 21.
These updates will include things like non-essential shops, hairdressers, theme parks and zoos reopening, as well as pubs and restaurants.
Holidays will also return – first domestically, then internationally – along with hotels and B&Bs. Meeting indoors with up to five other people from another household is pencilled in from May 17.
Then, in the final easing, all limits on social contact and the number of people allowed to gather will be removed, while nightclubs will be able to reopen after being closed since the beginning of the pandemic.
But these dates will only be met if the government's strategy around vaccinations, hospital admissions and deaths goes to plan.
Rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will differ.