From 8 March, people in England will see restrictions start to lift and the government’s four-step roadmap offer a route back to a more normal life.
However, the Goverment has warned that each of the four stages could be subject to delay adding that the opening up will be guided by “data rather than dates”.
There will be a minimum of five weeks between each stage. This will allow for four weeks to assess the latest data on transmission and hospital admissions and then an extra week to allow people and businesses to prepare for the next changes. A summary of the four step programme is beloow and a link to the full detailed report is at the bottom of this article:
Step 1 – March 8
- All pupils and college students return fully, with before- and after-school clubs opened. For a period, secondary school pupils and older will wear masks in classes.
- People can meet one other person outside for, say, a coffee or picnic, not just for exercise. Children will still count towards this.
- Care home residents can receive one regular, named visitor.
- The “stay at home” order will otherwise stay in place.
Step 2a – March 29
- Outdoor gatherings allowed of up to six people, or two households if this is larger, not just in parks but also gardens.
- Outdoor sport for children and adults will be allowed including outdoor swimming pools.
- The official stay at home order will end, but people will be encouraged to stay local – the definition of local will largely be left to people’s discretion.
- People will still be asked to work from home where possible, with no overseas travel allowed beyond the current small number of exceptions.
Step 2b – no earlier than April 12
- Reopening of non-essential retail, hair and nail salons, and public buildings such as libraries and museums.
- Most outdoor venues open, including pubs and restaurants but only for outdoor tables and beer gardens. Customers will have to be seated but there will be no need to have a meal with alcohol.
- Also reopening will be settings such as zoos and theme parks. However, social contact rules will apply here, so no indoor mixing between households and limits on outdoor mixing.
- Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and pools also open but again people can only go alone or with their own household.
- Reopening of holiday lets with no shared facilities, but only for one household.
- Funerals can have up to 30 attendees, while weddings, receptions and wakes can have 15.
Step 3 – no earlier than May 17
- Most mixing rules lifted outdoors, with a limit of 30 people meeting in parks or gardens.
- Indoor mixing will be allowed, up to six people or, if it is more people, two households.
- Indoor venues such as the inside of pubs and restaurants, hotels and B&Bs, play centres, cinemas and group exercise classes will reopen. The new indoor and outdoor mixing limits will remain for pubs and other hospitality venues.
- This will be the earliest date at which international holidays could resume, subject to a review – see the list of reviews below.
- For sport, indoor venues can have up to 1,000 spectators or half capacity, whichever is lower; outdoors the limit will be 4,000 people or half capacity, whichever is lower. Very large outdoor seated venues, such as big football stadiums, where crowds can be spread out, will have a limit of 10,000 people, or a quarter full, whichever is fewer.
- Weddings will be allowed a limit of 30 people, with other events such as christenings and barmitzvahs also permitted.
Step 4 – no earlier than June 21
- All legal limits removed on mixing will be removed and the last sectors to remain closed, such as nightclubs, will reopen. Large events can take place.
- There are likely to be changes to wider social distancing measures but this will be decided in a separate review.