A new four-step plan to ease England’s lockdown could remove bans on social contact by June 21, if strict conditions are met.
Shops, hairdressers, gyms and hotels could reopen on April 12 in England according to plans set by the prime minister.
As of May 17, two households could be allowed to mingle in households, while the six-person maximum rule could be applied in public places like pubs.
It requires four tests on vaccines, infection rates, and novel coronavirus variants to be met at each stage.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs that the plan aimed to be “forceful but irreversible” and that at each stage decisions would be based on “data, not dates.”
There was “no credible route to a Covid-free Britain and also no Covid-free world,” he said.
Johnson later told a news conference in Downing Street that the coming spring and summer would be “seasons of hope, of looking and feeling incomparably better for all of us.”
He described the plan as a “one-way path to freedom” but said he could not guarantee that it would be irreversible “but the intention is to make it so.”
His long-awaited roadmap, which begins with all pupils returning to schools in England on March 8, is slower than many conservative colleagues expected, with the “stay home” order remaining in effect until March 29 at the earliest and Easter holidays are prohibited. . All changes depend on meeting four tests, Johnson said.
• Aside from the reopening of schools, and high school students are expected to wear masks, the only change on March 8 will be that two people from different households will be able to meet socially outside. As of March 29, the order to “stay at home” will be lifted so that people can meet their families in a park or garden, and outdoor sports facilities can reopen.
• In the second step, starting April 12, hair salons and non-essential shops can reopen, as well as self-catering accommodation, libraries, museums, and outdoor hospitality such as pub gardens.
• Beginning May 17, in step three, most of the rules on outdoor social contact will be removed, with gatherings limited to 30 people. Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers indoors. Sports venues can accommodate up to 10,000 fans or a quarter of their capacity, whichever is less, and musical acts can perform for an audience of up to 1,000 people, or half the capacity of a venue.
• In step four, starting on June 21, all limits to socialization should be lifted and the end sectors of entertainment should be able to reopen.