When could the pubs reopen? How lockdown restrictions will be eased in England

Emma Bowden, PA

England’s coronavirus restrictions could finally be lifted by June 21 as part of a four-stage plan unveiled by Boris Johnson.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how the Prime Minister’s road map will work and when life could begin to feel more normal.

– How are restrictions going to be eased?

The changes are due to be rolled out in four stages, with Mr Johnson telling MPs the approach was “cautious but also irreversible”.

Coronavirus – Mon Feb 22, 2021
(PA Graphics)

Before each new step, the Government will look at the Covid-related data to assess what impact the relaxing of measures has had so far.

– What conditions must be met?

The road map contains four tests for easing restrictions at each stage.

The Government will assess the success of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, whether they are reducing hospital admissions and deaths, infection rates and the impact of any new coronavirus variants.

Such data will be used to determine whether the next stage of restrictions should be lifted.

– So, what restrictions are due to be lifted first?

All pupils in all year groups can go back to the classroom from March 8, with outdoor after-school sports and activities also allowed to restart.

Also from this date, people will be permitted to have socially distanced one-to-one meetings with others outdoors in a public space, meaning friends and family members could sit down for a coffee or have a picnic in the park.

Care home residents will be allowed a single visitor, with visitors required to take a lateral flow test and wear personal protective equipment.

– When could I see friends and family in a group?

Coronavirus – Mon Feb 22, 2021
(PA Graphics)

A further easing of restrictions will take place on March 29 when the school Easter holidays begin with larger groups of up to six people or two households allowed to gather in parks and gardens.

From this point, the “stay at home” order will end and the Government will instead encourage people to stay local where possible.

Early morning swimmers during sunrise at Charlton Lido in Hornfair
Outdoor swimming pools will reopen as the second part of the first stage on March 29 (Victoria Jones/PA)

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts are also set to reopen at the end of next month, with organised adult and children’s sport – including grassroots football – able to return.

– What about non-essential retail and gyms reopening?

From April 12 at the earliest, shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will reopen.

Indoor gyms and leisure facilities will also be able to reopen their doors in step two, but the requirements for social contact in indoor settings will continue.

This means people will only be permitted to visit a museum or exercise in a gym alone or with members of their own household.

Gym goers at David Lloyd health club in Leicester
Gym goers could be lifting weights from April 12 at the earliest (Joe Giddens/PA)

– When will I be able to go on holiday?

From April 12 at the earliest, overnight stays away from home in England will be permitted, although people will still be urged to minimise domestic travel where possible.

Self-contained accommodation, such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, will be able to reopen but only for holiday lets occupied by members of the same household.

Coronavirus – Mon Feb 22, 2021
(PA Graphics)

International travel rules will be reviewed, with May 17 targeted as the earliest possible date for a foreign holiday.

– What about sitting indoors in a pub?

Indoor hospitality, inside pubs and restaurants, is set to open up from May 17 at the earliest, in step 3 of the road map.

Melanie Scott pulling a pint at the Black Bull pub in Haworth, West Yorkshire
(Danny Lawson/PA)

The rule of six or two household rule will apply, while outdoors these restrictions will be lifted, although gatherings of more than 30 people in parks and gardens will remain illegal.

– When could I hug relatives again?

The Government’s road map has promised that advice on social distancing will be updated “as soon as possible” and no later than step 3.

Until then, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.

– Is there a date for nightclubs to potentially reopen?

Yes. The last step will be no earlier than June 21, and at least five weeks after the third step, when it is hoped that all legal limits on social contact will be removed.

Coronavirus – Mon Feb 22, 2021
(PA Graphics)

It is also hoped that the final closed sectors of the economy, such as nightclubs, could be allowed to reopen, while restrictions on large events could also be eased.

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