The Prime Minister has made a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon regarding a cautious and “irreversible” ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, and the easing of restrictions in phases over the coming months. The measures will apply in England.
Some key points from the statement are as follows:-
- There is no credible route to a zero-Covid Britain or a zero-Covid world.
- The Government has set a target of offering a first dose of a vaccine to every adult by the end of July
- Each stage of the roadmap will be assessed against the following tests
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- The assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern
- There will be at least 5 weeks between each stage, and 7 days’ notice of any change
- Step 1 – From 8 March: Pupils and students in all schools and further education settings can safely return to face-to-face teaching, supported by twice weekly testing of secondary school and college students. Other children’s activities including sport can restart where necessary to help parents to work. People will be able to meet with one person from outside their household for outdoor recreation in addition to exercise. Clinically extremely vulnerable advised to shield until end of March.
- From 29 March (Easter holidays) – People will no longer be required to legally stay at home. There will be the return of the Rule of 6 for meeting people oudoors including in private gardens. Outdoor meetings of 2 households will be permitted. Outdoor sports facilities will be able to reopen. Formally organised outdoor sports will resume subject to guidance.
- Step 2 – No earlier than 12 April. An announcement will be made at least 7 days in advance. Non-essential retail can reopen in step 2, along with Personal Care including hairdressers and nail salons. Indoor leisure including gyms will reopen as will holiday lets but only for use by individuals or household groups. Will begin to open pubs and restaurants outdoors. There will be no curfew and no requirement for alcohol to be accompanied by a substantial meal. Drive-in cinemas, libraries and community centres can re-open.
- Step 3 – No earlier than 17 May. Most restrictions on meetings outdoors will be lifted subject to a limit of 30, and this is the point you can see your friends and family indoors subject to a limit of 2 households. Re-open pubs and restaurants indoors along with cinemas, children’s play areas, hotels, hostels, theatres, and sports stadia – subject to capacity limits depending on the size of the venue.
- Step 4 – No earlier than 21st June. Aim to remove all restrictions on social contact, and allow weddings, events, reopening everything up to and including nightclubs and enable large events such as theatre performances beyond capacity limits, potentially using testing.
To support the steps, there will be 4 reviews carried out:
- How long we will need to continue with face masks and social distancing; Also working from home.
- Resumption of international travel – reporting by 12 April
- Potential role of Covid Status Certification in helping venues to re-open safely
- Safe return of major events
Here is a link to the Government’s Response to Covid-19 – Spring 2021:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963491/COVID-19_Response_-_Spring_2021.pdf
The Guidance has been updated to reflect the changes from 8 March and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
The further financial support is to be announced in the Chancellor’s Budget Statement next week, on 3rd March.