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‘Roadmap’ To End Lockdown Sees Pubs And Hairdressers Return From 12 April

Boris Johnson unveiled his roadmap out of lockdown in the Commons today (Parliamentlive.TV)

7 min read

The prime minister’s “cautious but irreversible” plan to bring the country out from lockdown will see pubs and hairdressers re-open from 12 April.

Boris Johnson outlined his eagerly awaited four-phase ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ in the Commons this afternoon which will begin with the easing of restrictions on 8 March, when schools will reopen and care home visits can begin again.

The first phase will also allow people to start socialising outdoors, meaning up to six people or two households of any number of people can meet up in parks or private gardens from March 29.

Each phase after that will begin after a minimum of five weeks, meaning pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers outdoors from April 12 at the earliest. Non-essential retail and personal care including hairdressers could also open their doors from 12 April. 

Phase three, which will start no earlier than 17 May, will see indoor mixing allowed for the first time, as well as indoor hospitality and entertainment venues, and the fourth and final phase from 21 June will see all legal limits on social contact hopefully removed.

Key dates:

  • 8 March: Schools will reopen. You will be able to meet one other person from another household to socialise outdoors. 
  • 29 March: Outdoor sports facilities will re-open. "Stay at home" order will end and gatherings of six people, or two households will be able to meet outside. 
  • No earlier than 12 April: Hairdressers and other personal care outlets, and non-essential retail can re-open. Pubs and restaurants can begin serving outdoors. Indoor sports and swimming pools, and self-catering accommodation can also open. 
  • No earlier than 17 May: Indoor mixing in pubs, cinemas hotels and threatres could resume. Football stadiums and other outdoor venues can host up to 10,000 people. Weddings and funerals can go ahead with 30 guests. International travel could resume. 
  • No earlier than 21 June: Legal limits on social gathering could end, so nightclubs and large events can re-open.

The government confirmed all of England will move through the phases of unlocking at the same time, and there will be no return to the tier system before Christmas.

The announcement today covers restrictions in England only, with the devolved nations due to set out their roadmaps in the coming weeks.

Outlining the plan this afternoon Johnson said it will "guide us cautiously but irreversibly towards reclaiming our freedoms”, but warned the threat from Covid-19 “remains substantial”.

"But we are able to take these steps because of the resolve of the British people and the extraordinary success of our NHS in vaccinating more than 17.5 million people across the UK,” he added.

The PM said "no vaccine can ever be 100% effective”. Addressing MPs he explained: "As the modelling released by Sage today shows, we cannot escape the fact that lifting lockdown will result in more cases, more hospitalisations and sadly more deaths.

"And 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 therefore no credible route to a zero-Covid Britain, or indeed, a zero-Covid world and we cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that debilitate our economy, our physical and mental wellbeing and the life chances of our children."

As well as schools reopening colleges and and wraparound childcare can restart in a fortnight’s time as the first part of the first phase, but pupils in secondary settings will have to wear masks in the classroom and get regular tests for coronavirus.

The second part of phase one, which begins three weeks later on March 29 will see a return to outdoor sports, with golf courses, tennis and basketball courts reopening, and both children and adults can take part in formally organised outdoor sports. 

It is also at this point the “stay at home” order will end, with government messaging switching to encouraging people to stay local wherever they can.

There will be a minimum five-week gap before stage two can start – four weeks to assess the data on the impact of the previous changes, and then a week for the relevant sectors and the public to prepare.

Johnson said this was because he does not want to take the risk of having to reimpose restrictions as a result of lifting lockdown at a quicker pace.

"The chief medical officer is clear that moving any faster would mean acting before we know the impact of each step, which would increase the risk of us having to reverse course and reimpose restrictions, I won't take that risk,” he added.

"Step one will happen from March 8, by which time those in the top four priority groups will be benefiting from the increasing protection they receive from their first dose of the vaccine."

The second phase will see hairdressers and nail salons reopen, as well as public buildings such as libraries and museums, as well as most outdoor attractions like zoos and theme parks. 

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools will also reopen but only for single households.

In terms of hospitality it will be outdoor only and either be two households of any size, or up to six people from more than two households.

But there will be no curfew or requirement to order a substantial meal with alcohol, so no return to the Scotch egg debate of last autumn.

Phase two will also see self-contained accommodation, such as campsites and no-shared holiday lets open again.

Indoor funerals can continue with up to 30 people while the numbers who are able to attend weddings and community events rises from six to 15.

The third phase, from 17 May, will see indoor hospitality in groups of six or two households can begin, and the rest of the accommodation, indoor adult sports groups and exercise classes can also reopen.

Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people, or half full, whichever is lower, will be allowed - and outdoors those with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full will be allowed.

And up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals and other life events will be permitted, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

The date of may 17 will also be the earliest possible date that international travel will resume.

The fourth phase, potentially from June 21, will see those final parts of the economy which have been closed throughout the pandemic, such as nightclubs, be able to finally re-open.

It could also see the restrictions on large events and performances removed fully too, but will be subject to one of four reviews the government is undertaking.

Detail of the government's roadmap out of lockdown was welcomed by business leaders. “The Prime Minister’s roadmap offers hope that the country can get back to business in the coming months," Tony Danker, director general of the CBI said. 

But while Danker said the plan was a "good starting point" but said it needed to translate into "economic momentum," by aiding business trying to get back on their feet. 

"The Budget is the second half of this announcement – extending business support in parallel to restrictions will give firms a bridge to the other side," Danker continued.  "This is particularly needed for sectors who will have to wait for up to three months to re-open and have an anxious 10 days ahead before the Budget."

Helen Dickinson chief executive of the British Retail Consortium welcomed the update, but also called for more support for those affected by the closure of shops. 

“To avoid further job losses and permanent job closures, the Chancellor must announce a targeted business rates relief from April and extend the moratorium on debt enforcement, as well as removing state aid caps on Covid business grants," she said. "This would relieve struggling businesses of bills they cannot currently pay and allow them to trade their way to recovery.”

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