On Monday 22nd February the Government laid out their “roadmap” to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England.
It is a four step roadmap to a more normal way of life. Each step to be assessed against four tests before restrictions ease, starting with the return of schools on 8th March. In his briefing, the PM Boris Johnson was clear that the decision on each stage will be based on date not dates, and government will move cautiously to keep infection rates under control. There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step.
Step One – March 8th Schools and further education will reopen, wraparound childcare will reopen, outdoor recreation i.e. picnics is allowed (this can be on your own or with one other person, or with your household or social bubble), indoor visits to care homes to start again for a single named visitor.
Step Two – no earlier than 12th April Opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings including libraries and community centres. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen with restrictions as will most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas Self contained accommodation – campsites and holiday lets where indoor facilities are not shared with other households can also reopen.
Step Three – no earlier than 17th May The Government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family which means that mist restrictions on meting others outdoors will be lifted – it will still be illegal to gather in groups of over 30 people. There will also be an update on advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging – something many of us have missed.
Step Four – no earlier than 21st June The Government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact. Reopen of remaining premises, including nightclubs and ease the restrictions on large events and performances.
To achieve the above we must all remember the COVID-19 remains part of our lives. We will have to live our lives differently to keep ourselves and others safe. We must carry on with “hands, face, space” . Follow all COVIC-secure measures that will remain in place. Meet outdoors when we can and keep letting fresh air in. Get tested if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, Get vaccinated when this is offered to you.
By doing all this we are all playing our part in getting back a future that is more familiar.