Light at the end of the lockdown? The government has published a four step roadmap to ease restrictions across England to get everyone back to a more normal way of life.

The government has published a four step roadmap to ease restrictions across England to get everyone back to a more normal way of life.

Each step will be assessed against four tests before progressing to the next step.
There will be a minimum of four weeks to assess the data from the four tests and one week for everyone to prepare for the next stage.
This will hopefully prevent the need for regional tiers or lockdowns again, although it may at times delay progress to the next step.

The four tests are:
1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.

2. Evidence showing vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.

3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations, putting unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

4. Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

Step 1 (part 1) – 8th March 2021
Everyone in the top four vaccine priority charts will have received (at least) their first vaccine and have developed a level of protection from it.
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.

- All children will return to face to face education in schools and college.

-Before school, after school, holiday clubs and other supervised children’s activities can resume so that parents can return to work/seek work/attend education/seek medical care/attend a support group.

- Care home residents will be allowed one regular visitor, provided they are tested and wear PPE.

- Some university students on practical courses will be able to return to face to face learning.

Step 1 (part 2) – 29th March 2021
This week most schools will break up for Easter.
The Stay at Home order will end, although many lockdown restrictions will remain.

- 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.

- Continue to work from home where possible

- Overseas travel remains banned, aside for a small number of reasons.

Step 2, no earlier than 12th April 2021
Non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, will reopen.

- 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 seated.

-Self-contained holiday
accommodation, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can reopen.

- Funerals can continue with up to 30 people.

- Weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise from 6 to 15.

Step 3, no earlier than 17th May 2021
- Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will not be allowed.

- Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen

- Indoor performances will be subject to the rule of 6 or 2 households.

- Indoor hospitality,
entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes can reopen.

- 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, bar mitzvahs, christenings, wakes, and funerals.

Step 4, no earlier than 21st June 2021
It is hoped the vaccination programme continues with the announcement of a new target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to every adult by the end of July.

It is hoped all limits on social contact can be removed.

- Reopen nightclubs, and lift restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3.

- Lift all limits from weddings and other life events.

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