Mon, 22 Feb 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address the nation this evening (Monday)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out his roadmap out of lockdown in the House of Commons.
Schools will reopen on March 8, with twice weekly testing, and after-school sports and activities will be allowed to restart.
Socially distanced one-to-one meetings with others outdoors in public spaces, such as for a coffee, will also be allowed. Care home residents can have a single visitor, provided they are tested and wear PPE.
From March 29, the rule of six will return and a new measure allowing two households to meet outdoors, including in private gardens, will be introduced.
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts and open-air swimming pools are also set to reopen at the end of next month.
Organised adult and children’s sport – including grassroots football – can also return.
People should continue to work from home and minimise travel where possible.
In step two, from April 12, non- essential retail will reopen, including personal care such as hairdressers. Gyms will reopen, as will holiday lets, for individuals and household groups only.
Pubs will start to reopen outdoors and there will be no curfew and no requirement for alcohol to be accompanied by a substantial meal. Zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas will reopen, along with libraries.
Step three will begin no earlier than May 17. Most restrictions on meeting outdoors will be lifted, to a limit of 30 people. Meeting indoors will be permitted, subject to the rule of six.
Pubs and restaurants will be opened indoors, along with hotels, children's play areas, theatres, concert halls and crowds will be able to attend sports events, depending on size of venue.
Step four will start no earlier than June 21. Weddings will be permitted and night clubs will be allowed to reopen, with larger events also given the go ahead.
Mr Johnson told MPs: "The threat remains substantial with the numbers in hospital only now beginning to fall below the peak of the first wave in April.
"We are able to take these steps because of the resolve of the British public and the extraordinary success of our NHS in vaccinating more than 17.5 million people across the UK."
He warned that no vaccine could ever be 100 per cent effective and added: "We cannot escape the fact that lifting lockdown will result in more cases, more hospitalisations and, sadly, more deaths.
"This would happen whenever lockdown is lifted, whether now or in six or nine months because there will always be some vulnerable people who are not protected by the vaccines. There is no credible route to a zero-Covid Britain or indeed a zero-Covid world.
"We cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that debilitate our economy our physical and mental wellbeing and the life chances of our children.
"We are setting out on what I hope and believe is a one-way road to freedom and this journey is made possible by the pace of the vaccination programme."
"That is why it is so crucial that this road map should be cautious but also irreversible. We are setting out on what I hope and believe is a one-way road to freedom and this journey is made possible by the pace of the vaccination programme."
Ministers will assess the success of the vaccine rollout, evidence of vaccine efficacy, new variants and infection rates before proceeding to the next step.
The tests are currently being met, Downing Street said, allowing the first relaxation to take place on March 8.
But now that one in three adults in the UK have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, Mr Johnson will face pressure from some Tory MPs to ease measures more quickly.