7 things to look forward to as lockdown restrictions ease
- Credit: PA
After more than three months of living in another national lockdown, people are starting to look towards a day where they can live free of restrictions.
With prime minister Boris Johnson announcing a four-step roadmap for easing restrictions on February 22, there now appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.
This week has seen the full return of schools and colleges as part of step one of the roadmap, but here are seven more things to look forward to over the coming months.
Going out for a meal and drinks
Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers outdoors as part of step two, which will be no earlier than April 12.
There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with an alcoholic drink, which proved to be contentious during the second lockdown, with Michael Gove's comments about scotch eggs gaining particular attention.
Table service will be in operation again so customers will have to order while seated.
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Getting a haircut
Hairdressers will also open up from April 12 as part of step two providing the vaccination programme continues to prove effective, and infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations.
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Those who have attempted to have their hair cut at home during lockdown may also share the excitement of being able to return to their professional hairdresser when the doors are opened again.
Watching a film at the cinema
Those yearning to be able to watch a movie on the big screen rather than their sofa should pencil May 17 into their calendar.
As part of step three of the government's roadmap, indoor entertainment and attractions, including cinemas, are set to reopen.
This follows outdoor drive-in cinemas being earmarked to reopen on April 12 for the second stage of the roadmap.
With films such as James Bond No Time to Die (September 30), Cinderella (July 16), The King's Man (August 20) and The Father featuring Olivia Colman (June 11) set to be screened, movie fans have plenty to look forward to.
Staying at a friend's house
May 17 has been earmarked as the date when two households can meet indoors as the government looks to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible.
This forms part of step three of the road to freedom with people being allowed to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances, rather than there being a blanket ban.
The government has also announced that outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed to meet outside from March 29, which includes private gardens.
Going to the gym
Gyms are expected to open at the same time as non-essential retail, personal care premises and public buildings such as libraries and community centres.
Under the government roadmap, this will be no earlier than April 12 as part of step two of the restrictions being eased.
Indoor exercise classes are set to resume when step three gets going, no earlier than May 17.
Many couples have already been left devastated as their plans to get married have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
On April 12, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.
But from May 17, providing the roadmap continues to run smoothly, this will increase to up to 30 people.
Those hoping to invite more guests than this amount will have to wait until June 21 and step four when all legal limits on social contact is expected to be eased.
Funerals will continue with up to 30 mourners during steps two and three.
Booking a hotel
If you fancy a change of scenery after months stuck in your house, keep an eye on step three of the roadmap when hotels, hostels and B&Bs open up.
In all sectors, Covid-secure guidance will continue and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits.