Watch: Boris Johnson unveils lockdown road map
In a speech on Monday, he outlined the key dates for how lockdown restrictions could be relaxed in the coming weeks as the vaccination programme continues at a good pace.
The prime minister said there was no credible route to a "zero-COVID Britain, or indeed, a zero-COVID world" and that it was not possible to "persist indefinitely with restrictions that debilitate our economy, our physical and mental wellbeing and the life chances of our children".
The restrictions have been split into four "steps", with at least five weeks between each step to allow the government to analyse the impact of the new restrictions and give the country a week's notice if there are any changes to the planned road map.
Here are the key dates outlined by Johnson:
Step 1 – from 8 March at the earliest
From 8 March, people will be able to meet one other person from another household to sit outside, and a regular named visitor will be able go to a care home.
Schools and further education will return to face-to-face teaching, supported by regular testing at secondary schools and colleges, and after-school clubs and children's sport can resume to help working parents. All students will be urged to use face coverings in all indoor settings – including classrooms – unless 2m social distancing can be maintained.
COVID-secure local election campaign activities will also be allowed.
Then on 29 March – which is still part of Step 1, when schools are on the Easter break – the rule of six will be brought back, but it will only apply to the outdoors, including private gardens.
Outdoor meetings of two households will also be allowed on the same basis, Johnson said.
Outdoor sports can resume and the government will drop the "stay at home" message. Working from home will still be encouraged.
As before, people can leave home for work if they cannot work from home and to escape illness, injury or risk of harm, including domestic abuse.
In terms of childcare, children will still only be able to attend indoor childcare or supervised activities where doing so will allow parents or carers to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical attention or attend a support group.
Step 2 – from 12 April at the earliest
From 12 April at the earliest, hospitality venues will be able to open for outdoor service, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcoholic drinks, and no curfew.
The requirement to order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’) will remain, and social contact rules will not change any further.
Non-essential retail shops will be allowed to reopen, including hairdressers and nail salons. Indoor leisure centres, like gyms, will also be able to reopen.
Theme parks, drive-in cinemas and zoos alongside public libraries and community centres will once again be able to welcome visitors back.
People should continue to work from home where they can, and minimise domestic travel where they can. International holidays will still be prohibited.
The government will also take a decision on extending the number of care home visitors to two per resident.
All children will be able to attend any indoor children's activity, including sport, regardless of circumstance. Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five years old) can restart indoors.
Step 3 – from 17 May at the earliest
Indoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen as part of Step 3 from 17 May at the earliest.
Most outdoor restrictions should then be lifted, subject to a limit of 30 people, and it will be possible to see friends and family indoors subject to rule of six and two household rule, Johnson said.
Pubs and restaurants will be able to allow patrons indoors, and cinemas, children's play areas, hotels, hostels, BnBs, theatres and concert halls will get the green light to bring customers and audiences back.
Sports stadiums will also allow back spectators, subject to capacity limits, while larger events with enhanced testing will also be trialled.
Step 4 – from 21 June at the earliest
From 21 June at the earliest, Johnson said the government will aim to remove all legal limits to social contact, including weddings and live events.
He said everything up to and including nightclubs will be allowed to reopen.
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