Boris Johnson today revealed that weddings with up to 30 people, indoor dining and reduced-sized crowds at football matches will be allowed from May 17 as he unveiled his road map for reopening the economy.
Holidays in the UK will be allowed from April 12, along with outdoor drinking and dining at pub gardens and al fresco restaurants.
By Joe Murphy, Sophia Sleigh
The full economy will be open from June 21, midsummer, although some restrictions may be needed to maintain social distancing. But the PM said he is ready to delay some stages if infections rise or new variants of the virus emerge.
Each of the four big steps is separated by at least five weeks – four weeks for scientists to assess the changing data on infections and risks, and another week to give people and businesses seven days’ notice of changes.
There will be no regional tiers this time – the whole of England will move in lockstep. But localised lockdowns may be needed to contain outbreaks with mass testing.
In key developments:
– Pub gardens can reopen from April 12, with adults allowed to socialise there under the Rule of Six;
– Mr Johnson also gave the green light for UK holidays from April 12;
– Adults will be allowed to mix indoors under certain restrictions from May 17, with hospitality venues allowed to start serving indoors;
– But libraries, museums, indoor leisure facilities, gyms and pools will not be allowed to open until April 12.
Here are the key dates:
March 8 – Schools to return and one to one socialising allowed
Wraparound childcare resumes, meaning after-school or pre-school clubs such as after-school sports clubs.
People can meet for recreation in outdoor public spaces on a one to one basis. At the moment two people can meet during exercise but they will be allowed to sit down for a coffee on a bench or have a picnic.
Households can go outdoors for a picnic.
CARE HOME VISITS
Care home residents will be allowed one regular named visitor, meaning large families will have to choose one family member to see a loved one alone.
STAY AT HOME
The “stay at home” order remains in place.
March 29 – Return of the Rule of Six and outdoor sports
Outdoor gatherings are allowed of up to six people from lots of different households (the Rule of Six) , or a larger group from two households.
This will include meeting up in parks and also private gardens for socialising. It coincides with schools breaking up for Easter, meaning that people can have contact with loved ones and friends whom they may not have seen for a long time during the Easter holidays.
Outdoor sports facilities reopen, including tennis and basketball courts.
People can take part in formally organised outdoor sports, for both children and adults.
STAY AT HOME:
Stay at home comes to an end, allowing people to go out more, replaced by a new instruction to “stay local”. People should still work from home wherever possible.
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April 12 – Shops, pub gardens, holidays and hairdressers
By April 12 onwards, the Government hopes non-essential retail will be able to start reopening.
Opening up will also include hairdressers and nail salons.
However, if you are going to a hairdresser, you can only go with your own household, according to a ban on indoor mixing.
Pubs and restaurants can reopen for outdoor purposes only – with tables outside in line with social contact rules.
People will be able to meet friends or family in beer gardens as long as they abide by the rule of six or are made up of two households.
This time round there will be no rules about “substantial meals” which sparked a confusing row over whether a scotch egg constituted a meal and no curfews which restaurateurs said hampered their businesses.
Customers will have to be seated when they order food and drink, under the changes.
OUTDOOR AND PUBLIC ATTRACTIONS
Most outdoor attractions will reopen including zoos and theme parks.
Doors to libraries, museums, indoor leisure facilities, gyms and pools will also be thrown open – on your own or with your household.
People will also be able to go on holiday in the UK with your own household as long as it is to self-contained accommodation such as holiday lets and camp sites.
However, they have to be places where indoor services are not shared with other households.
FUNERALS AND WEDDINGS
Funerals will be able to continue with up to 30 people and the number allowed to attend wedding receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise from six to 15.
May 17 – Indoor dining, cinemas, football fans in stadiums
From May 17 onwards, Downing Street hopes most social contact rules will be lifted outdoors including the rule of six or two household limit. However, it will remain illegal to gather with more than 30 people in a park or garden.
Indoor mixing will be allowed again but only according to the rule of six or two household limit.
Pubs and restaurants will be able to throw open their doors for indoor dining as well with entertainment venues such as cinemas.
However, meeting inside a pub will still be limited to the rule of six or two households.
WEDDINGS, FUNERALS, STADIUMS
Children’s play areas can start to open up as well as hotels and B&Bs and indoor adult exercise classes can resume.
Large sporting events and performances will be able to have fans back in the stadiums with limits on numbers attending.
Indoor events with a capacity of 1,000 people or half full will be allowed.
And outdoors, a capacity of 4,000 people will be allowed or half full – whichever figure is lower.
Huge football stadiums such as Wembley will be able to reopen with up to 10,000 people or a quarter full – whichever is lower.
Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, funerals, wakes, bar mitzvahs and christenings.
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June 21 – the reopening of almost all the economy
Under the final step – which will be no earlier than June 21 – it is hoped that all limits can be removed.
This should include the reopening of certain sectors that stayed closed even during last summer such as nightclubs and live events.
The Government also hopes to be able to lift restrictions on live events and make a decision on whether limits can be removed on weddings.
The review points
Four major reviews will decide the final shape of the timetable on critical questions like foreign holidays and whether vaccination could give people greater freedoms to work and enjoy leisure.
Review 1 – Covid certification
A major study will consider ethical and practical issues over the idea of a Covid Passport or certification system, and whether certification could help to reopen the economy faster.
It will ask if restrictions on social contact and safety can be reduce d for people with proof of vaccination, for example, whether they can fly abroad without going into quarantine afterwards, or go to nightclubs.
No 10 hopes the study will be complete in time to decide how to handle the reopening of the full economy on June 21.
But it is a complex area which poses moral and ethical questions as well as practical ones and scientific ones. Is it fair to give some people more freedom than others?
Review 2 – Research into big events
Pilot studies will be used to see if major events with larger crowd sizes can be run safely by using mass testing and other measures to allow reduced social distancing.
This could pave the way for events like Glastonbury or Cheltenham to come back, or for full-sized crowds at national sports events.
The pilots schemes will run from April onwards.
Review 3 – Foreign holidays after May 17
The Department for Transport will lead a successor scheme to last summer’s travel corridors, with an ambition to facilitate more travel as soon as possible, while still managing the risk of imported Covid cases. It will report for April 12.
International travel will not resume until May 17 at the earliest and possibly later.
Review 4 – Social distancing
Social distancing measures will be looked at again, including the one meter-plus rule, when face masks are worn, and working from home.
It will review in time for new rules if necessary to come in from June 21.
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