Thanks to the enormous sacrifices of the British people and the success of our vaccination programme, we are now in a position where lockdown restrictions can cautiously start easing .
That is why, from 8 March, restrictions will begin to ease in four steps, starting with children and students returning to face to face education. At all stages, decisions will be guided by the latest data to assess the impact of previous steps, ensuring we do not have to re-impose any restrictions.
Together we will cautiously move out of lockdown, so we do not risk the sacrifices each and every one of us has made to keep each other safe as we slowly return to our normal way of life.
Our roadmap out of lockdown:
- Supported by the increased protection offered by these vaccines, we are now able to slowly and cautiously begin to ease restrictions in all areas across England at the same time, guided at all stages by data, not dates. The roadmap outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, we will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.1
This assessment will be based on four tests:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step. This includes four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions; followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased. This will give adequate time to assess the impact of each step and reduce the risk of having to re-impose restrictions at a later date.
Step One: 8 March
- Getting all children and students back into their schools and colleges, with some university students on practical courses also able to return to face to face learning.
- Wraparound childcare and other supervised children’s activities can resume, where they enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group.
- Care home residents will be allowed one regular visitor provided they are tested and wear PPE.
- The Stay at Home requirement will remain, but people can leave home for recreation outdoors such as a coffee or picnic with their household or support bubble, or with one person outside their household.
- Outdoor gatherings of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed, providing greater flexibility for families to see each other. This includes in private gardens.
- Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, will be allowed to reopen, and people can take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
- The Stay at Home order will end, although many lockdown restrictions will remain.
Step Two: No earlier than 12 April
- Non-essential retail will reopen, including personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres.
- Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen, although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances will also be permitted.
- Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen - but only for use by people on their own or with their household.
- Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only, there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and no curfew - although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.
- Self-contained accommodation can reopen, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households.
- Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (from 6).
Step Three: No earlier than 17 May
- Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
- Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen, indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - although we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.
- Indoor hospitality will be able to reopen, including for entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes.
- Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).
- In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
- Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals, other life events that will be permitted include bar mitzvahs and christenings.
Step Four: No earlier than 21 June
- We hope that all legal limits on social contact can be removed.
- We hope to reopen nightclubs, and lift restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3.
- This will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.