As stated in the the Prime Minister's press release, the roadmap outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous easements. This assessment will be based on four tests which are that:
- 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.
Importantly, there will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: 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 Assessment: The four tests are currently being met so the first step will proceed from 8 March, at which point the top four priority cohorts for vaccinations - as determined by the independent JCVI - will have received a degree of immunity, three weeks after being offered their first dose. Due to the current, relatively uniform spread of the virus across the country, restrictions will be eased step-by-step across the whole of England at the same time.
The four steps, as outlined in the Prime Minister's announcement on the 22 February, are as follows:
From 8 March
- The Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are advised to shield at least until the end of March.
Schools and Education Settings
Pupils and students in all schools and further education settings can safely return to face-to-face teaching, supported by twice-weekly testing of secondary school and college pupils.
Families and childcare bubbles will also be encouraged to get tested regularly.
Breakfast and afterschool clubs can also re-open - and other children’s activities, including sport, can restart where necessary to help parents to work.
Students on university courses requiring practical teaching, specialist facilities or onsite assessments will also return but all others will need to continue learning online, and we will review the options for when they can return by the end of the Easter Holidays.
- Stay at Home remains: if you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay in your local area - unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work. Staying in your local area means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.
You can leave home for recreation outdoors - such as a coffee on a bench or a picnic in a park - with your household or support bubble, or with one person outside your household (i.e. yourself and one other).
- Every care home resident will be able to nominate a named visitor, able to see them regularly provided they are tested and wear PPE.
From 29 March
- Rule of Six will return outdoors, including in private gardens and outdoor meetings of two households will also be permitted on the same basis, so that families in different circumstances can meet.
- Outdoor sports facilities – such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools – will be able to reopen and formally organised outdoor sports will resume, subject to guidance.
- People will no longer be legally required to stay at home but many lockdown restrictions will remain. Still work from home and minimise travel where possible.
- People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise all travel wherever possible.
From 12 April - if the data continues to meet the four tests
- Non-essential retail will reopen, as will personal care including hairdressers and nail salons.
- Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will re-open.
- Holiday-lets will re-open, but only for use by individuals or household groups.
- Pubs and restaurants will begin to reopen with no curfew and no requirement for alcohol to be accompanied by a substantial meal.
Outdoor Recreation Facilities
- Zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas will re-open.
Libraries and Community Centres
- Public libraries and community centres will re-open.
- Funerals can continue with up to 30 people.
- The numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.
From 17 May - if the data continues to meet the four tests
- Most restrictions on meetings outdoors will be lifted, subject to a limit of thirty.
- You will be allowed to meet indoors subject to the Rule of Six or the meeting of two households.
- We will also reopen pubs and restaurants indoors along with cinemas and children’s play areas, hotels, hostels, and B&Bs.
- Theatres and concert halls will open their doors.
- Sports stadia will reopen in all cases to capacity limits depending on the size of the venue.
- 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.
From 21 June - if the data continues to meet the four tests
- With appropriate mitigations, we will aim to remove all legal limits on social contact, and on weddings and other life events.
- We will re-open everything up to and including nightclubs, and enable large events such as theatre performances above the limits of Step 3, potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection.
As the Prime Minister said, our journey back towards normality will be subject to resolving a number of key questions and to do this we will conduct four reviews.
One will assess how long we need to maintain social distancing and face masks. This will also inform guidance on working from home – which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete.
A second review will consider the resumption of international travel which is vital for many businesses which have been hardest hit including retail, hospitality, tourism and aviation. A successor to the Global Travel Taskforce will report by 12 April so that people can plan for the summer.
The third review will consider the potential role of Covid-status certification in helping venues to open safely but mindful of the many concerns surrounding exclusion, discrimination and privacy.
And the fourth review will look at the safe return of major events.
The Government now aim to offer a first dose to all those in Groups 5 to 9 by 15 April and to offer a first dose to every adult by the end of July.
- Group 5: all those 65 years of age and over
- Group 6: all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
- Group 7: all those 60 years of age and over
- Group 8: all those 55 years of age and over
- Group 9: all those 50 years of age and over
More more information on the vaccine rollout nationally and locally, please click here.