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COVID-19: When every lockdown rule is set to lift in England

Written by on 23 February 2021

Boris Johnson has revealed his four steps to easing England’s lockdown for different parts of society and the economy.

The prime minister hopes to be able to lift the majority of rules by 21 June, but this is dependent on cases, deaths and hospital admissions continuing to fall so the dates are the earliest any of the stated rules could be lifted.

There will be no regional tier systems – England will be treated as one in the easing of lockdown.

Step One: 8 March and 29 March

8 March

• All schools and colleges in England will reopen, while all childcare can resume

• Secondary school pupils will have to wear facemasks initially while staff in all schools are advised to wear masks.

• All secondary and college pupils will be tested twice a week, at school for the first two weeks then at home

• All households with school children, members of their support and childcare bubbles, and those in related occupations will be encouraged to be tested regularly

• All breakfast and after-school clubs can restart

• University students on practical courses can return but others will have to continue with online lessons. This will be reviewed over the Easter holidays

• One person will be able to meet one other person from another household outside for recreation, not just exercise

• This will mean two people can meet for a picnic or sit on a bench with a coffee but they cannot play tennis or golf

• Care home residents will be allowed one named visitor.

29 March

• Up to six people from different households or a larger group from two households can meet outside, including in private gardens

• Outdoor sports facilities can reopen and organised outdoor sports can take place for children and adults

• From this point, the government will drop the “Stay at Home” message and will instead encourage people to stay local wherever they can

• People will still have to work from home where possible and no overseas travel, apart from necessary work, will be allowed.

Step Two: 12 April

Retail graphic tile for Sky News economics tracker

• Non-essential retail, including hairdressers and beauty salons, can reopen

• Libraries, zoos, theme parks and gyms can open – but no indoor mixing of different households allowed

• Outdoor hospitality can reopen, including pubs and restaurants – with the rule of six or a larger group from two households

• Customers will not have to buy a substantial meal to have an alcoholic drink and there will be no curfew but people will have to be seated when ordering and eating or drinking

• Self-catering holidays in the UK with your own household will be allowed

• Funerals of up to 30 people. Weddings and wakes of up to 15 people.

Step Three: 17 May

Young people enjoy a drink in a pub

• Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted, but gatherings of more than 30 will be illegal

• Indoors, the rule of six or a larger group of up to two households will be allowed

• Indoor hospitality – pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, concert halls, children play areas, hotels, B&Bs, indoor exercise classes – will be allowed

• Advice on social distancing between family and friends, including hugging, will be updated no later than 17 May

• Large indoor performances and sporting events with a capacity of 1,000 people will be allowed

• Outdoor large performances and sporting events will have a maximum capacity of 4,000 people or must only be half full, whichever is lower

• Bigger sports stadiums will be allowed 10,000 people or can only be a quarter full, whichever is lower

• Testing will be used to support these openings

• Weddings, wedding receptions, wakes, funerals and christenings will be allowed with 30 people.

Step Four: 21 June

what is herd immunity?

• All legal limits on social contact removed

• Government hopes to reopen nightclubs and lift restrictions on large events such as festivals

• Testing could be used as a condition of entry

• Ministers hope to remove restrictions on weddings

Yet to be decided

There are a few rules and issues that have not yet been agreed and will be subject to review during the easing of lockdown.

Travel quarantine graphic

1. The one-metre plus rule, mandatory facemasks and working from home

The government hopes to conclude a review of this before step four.

2. Whether you can use proof of having a COVID-19 vaccine to enter mass events

The government hopes to set out the conclusion of a review prior to step four on whether vaccine or test certificates could be used to reopen the rest of the economy.

3. International travel

The government has said this will not resume before 17 May following a review that will be completed by 12 April.

4. Major events

The government has said testing could be used to ensure people can safely attend large events.