A ROADMAP outlining when restrictions will be eased in England has been announced by the Prime Minister this afternoon.
The first steps of a four-part plan to unlock the country will see schools reopening and families reunited.
On March 8, children will go back to the classroom and people will be allowed to meet one friend or family member in an outdoor space.
It means they will be able to meet for a picnic or a coffee for the first time in over two months.
Also on March 8, new rules will allow care home residents to have one regular visitor.
The next significant date in the diary is March 29, when outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be permitted.
This date will also see the return of grassroots football and the reopening of tennis courts and golf courses.
Assuming Covid-19 hospital admissions remain low – a key factor in every step of the plan – non-essential shops, hairdressers and gyms will reopen on April 12.
Pubs and restaurants will also be allowed to serve food and drink to people in groups of six outside.
People will no longer need to purchase a ‘substantial meal’ alongside their alcoholic drinks.
Holidays can restart in England from April 12 – but only for one household – with a decision on when holidays abroad will be allowed expected on the same date.
On May 17, the hospitality sector will be allowed to have customers inside again.
Indoor activities are also set to return including cinemas and bingo halls.
And two households will also be able to mix indoors and stay overnight, but with the rule of six still enforced.
Speaking in the House of Commons, PM Boris Johnson said: “No vaccine can ever be 100 per cent effective.
“We cannot escape the fact that lifting lockdown will result in more cases, hospital admissions and sadly more deaths.
“This will happen whenever lockdown is lifted, whether it is now or in nine months’ time.
“There will always be some vulnerable people who are not protected by the vaccines. We cannot have a zero-covid world.”
The PM added that the roadmap will be ‘cautious’ but also ‘irreversible’.
If everything goes to plan, all social restrictions will be lifted on June 21, thus paving the way for nightclubs to reopen.
It’s not certain if social distancing measures will stay in place.
Finally, the heavily-criticised tier system has been scrapped and everything will be lifted across England at the same time.
Around 17.5million people have received their first Covid-19 jabs.
The government hopes to give every adult a vaccine by the end of July.
The four conditions that must be met for lockdown to continue to be eased are:
– The vaccine programme continues successfully
– Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying
– Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
– New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions