Five key dates that explain how and when lockdown rules are going to be relaxed

Will Taylor

Boris Johnson has announced the roadmap for England's route out of the coronavirus lockdown.

He told the House of Commons the key dates for reopenings, as the vaccination programme continues to at a good pace.

The prime minister warned: “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.”

There will be gaps of at least five weeks between the four steps Johnson outlined, so the government can analyse four week data from the last step and give the country a week's notice.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving his speech to Parliament, in in the House of Commons, London, about setting out the road map for easing coronavirus restrictions across England. Picture date: Monday February 22, 2021.
Boris Johnson has unveiled his lockdown roadmap. (PA)

Here are the key moments the prime minister announced on Monday afternoon.

Step one – outdoor meetings and schools return

On 8 March, one person can meet one other person from another household to sit outside, and a regular named visitor can go to a care home.

Schools and further education will return to face-to-face teaching, supported by regular testing.

View of the Covid-19 'Stay Home Save Lives' publicity campaign poster in London as the third national lockdown continues. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
The government is due to drop its stay at home message in stage one. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Then on 29 March – which is still part of step one, 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.

Step two – hairdressers and gyms allowed again

From 12 April at the earliest, non-essential retail will be allowed back and hairdressers and nail salons will be permitted to return.

Indoor leisure, like gyms, can come back, and pubs and restaurants will be allowed to have outdoor customers.

Theme parks, drive in cinemas and zoos alongside public libraries and community centres can once again welcome visitors back.

Step three – indoor pub visits and most outdoor restrictions go

Indoor hospitality and entertainment venues will be allowed to reopen as part of step three from 17 May at the earliest.

 People sitting outside the Cock and Lion pub in Marylebone on the eve of the 2nd Lockdown in London.
Pubs and restaurants to close as England forced into new national coronavirus lockdown. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Potential dates for when pubs can serve outdoors and indoors have been announced. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Most outdoor restrictions should then be lifted, and people will be able to see friends and family indoor 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 could 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 be trialled.

Step four – social restrictions removed and nightclubs could come back

From 21 June at the earliest, Johnson said the government will aim to remove all limits to social contact, including weddings and live events.

He said everything up to and including nightclubs will be allowed to reopen.

Watch: What you can and can't do in lockdown

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