The Government’s road map for England says all limits on social contact will lift on June 21 at the earliest, with nightclubs reopening and large events and performances allowed to resume.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the key issues around whether that timetable can be stuck to.
Is the data looking good for restrictions to ease?
Yes and no. Some experts are worried about rising cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19, with cases doubling in the past week.
It is unclear whether the variant will take off in a big way, which could lead to a third wave of infection and pressure on hospitals.
However, the current data suggests vaccines are having a profound effect at keeping those who have received two doses out of hospital.
Most of the cases of the Indian variant are in unvaccinated people.
What do the scientists say?
They are divided, with some urging caution and saying the road map must be delayed.
Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said cases of the Indian variant are doubling every week and “it only takes five or six doublings for that to get up to say a quarter million cases”.
Others say there is no reason why restrictions should remain in place when vaccines are doing so much of the heavy lifting of controlling the pandemic.
Fellow Nervtag member Robert Dingwall said it is “hard to see any reason” why June 21 cannot go ahead, adding that “hospitalisations may not be a very good indicator of the severity” of infections, with indications that people are younger and less seriously ill.
What does the Government think?
There is no doubt there is desire to lift limits as planned on June 21, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying there is nothing in the current data to prevent that happening.
However, he has urged patience while more data is collected over the next few weeks to ensure hospital admissions – and deaths – are not accelerating.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he “desperately” wants to see curbs lifted, but argues it is currently too early to say whether that can happen.
What about businesses?
Pubs and restaurants in particular are desperate for normality and for the rules around social distancing to be lifted.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, has said it is “absolutely critical” the remainder of the hospitality sector is allowed to unlock on June 21.
She said: “About a million jobs will be at risk unless we can get Government support extended or those social distancing restrictions lifted.”