Key dates for when lockdown rules could be lifted

Boris Johnson’s plan to lift England out of its third lockdown will be announced on February 22 in the PM’s ‘roadmap to recovery’.

Details of what has been included in the roadmap have begun to emerge, with key dates being penned, according to reports.

As the number of coronavirus cases has fallen throughout the UK, Boris has laid out plans to reopen the country.

The Prime Minister has said he hopes to be able to reopen schools two weeks after the roadmap is announced, on March 8.

According to reports, the roadmap will be set in three stages – with the reopening of schools followed a month later by the reopening of shops and non-essential retail and a month later by the reopening of pubs.

There are reports the tier system will be scrapped and replaced with national lockdowns if necessary.

Reports also suggest household mixing will begin again at the same time as pubs are allowed to start serving people outdoors by the start of April.

Experts predict Covid cases will be down to the same level that saw restrictions lifted at the end of the first lockdown by March 8.

However, the government has said that there are no ‘arbitrary target dates’ for reopening anything – with every rule depending on the rates of infection at the time.

February 15

By tomorrow, Monday, February 15, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be presented with all the latest key data on coronavirus numbers across the UK.

The data will allow him to spend the next week finalising the roadmap out of lockdown – which will set the dates for reopening key parts of the economy and easing tough lockdown rules.

The Government will have finished offering a first dose of the vaccine to all in the top four most vulnerable categories set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation by tomorrow also.

It will then begin offering the vaccine to everyone over 60, and the clinically vulnerable.

Monday also sees the start of tough quarantine rules for travellers entering England.

Anyone arriving in the country from one of 33 red list countries will have to stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days and provide two negative Covid test results.

Failure to comply with the new rules will see punishment ranging from a £10,000 fine to 10 years in prison in the most serious cases.

February 22

Boris Johnson will set his “road map” on February 22 – this was confirmed by Victoria Atkins, Home Office Minister.

The Prime Minister is expected to explain to residents of England which restrictions will be eased first and when, and what criteria must be met for each step to happen.

Details have been leaked to the press and it has been suggested the Government is considering a three-phase approach to lifting the rules.

The exit plan will go to Parliament for a debate.

March 8

The Prime Minister has already set March 8 as the earliest date for the reopening of schools in England.

It is expected that there will be a staggered return with pupils returning at different times.

Younger primary school pupils could be among the first to go back.

Currently, all pupils are being homeschooled with remote learning, barring the children of key workers and vulnerable students, who continued to go to school for face-to-face learning.

The rules will include all schools from childcare and nursery up to university students.

Professor Neil Ferguson, a No10 adviser, said on Friday that the Government will “have some bandwidth” to start reopening schools in March before potentially beginning to ease other restrictions in April.

He is hopeful the nation could be in its “final lockdown”.

March 22

It has been speculated that the Government could allow more outdoor socialising between households, starting at some stage in March.

This would include relaxing the rules to allow outside leisure such as picnics, golf and tennis.

It has been reported that you would be allowed to meet up outside with one individual from another household.

April 4

Reports claim pubs and restaurants might be allowed to reopen, with strict rules, at some point after Easter in April.

Previous tier restrictions such as the 10pm curfew and “substantial meal” requirement will be scrapped as part of a “simplification” of rules to ease confusion, it was reported.

It appears people would only be allowed to drink outside at first.

The Times reported that non-essential shops were being pencilled in for reopening in April by Downing Street.

Currently, only essential shops such as supermarkets and chemists are allowed to be open.

May 1

The Government is hoping to have offered a vaccine to all over-50s and clinically vulnerable people by the end of April.

On Sunday Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said this would then allow for the lifting of coronavirus restrictions – as 99 per cent of those most likely to die with the disease would have been vaccinated.

Professor Neil Ferguson said it is hoped places with low infection rates will be able to return to looser Tier 1-style restrictions in May.

He suggested a Tier 2-style system could be in place across England in May if infection rates, hospitalisations and deaths are low enough.

May 15

By this point all the over 50s and the clinically vulnerable should have had a first dose of the vaccine, and had time for the vaccine to offer immunity.

That would allow for a fuller reopening of pubs and restaurants – as well as the rest of the hospitality and tourism sector.

June

It has been speculated that sports fans could be allowed in stadiums in time for the European football championships, which begin in June.

July

Summer holidays could begin. It is said the Government is working on vaccine passports which could allow British tourists to go on summer holidays abroad.

The certificates would help tourists to prove they are vaccinated against Covid-19.

Greece and Spain are among the countries expected to reopen their borders to UK holidaymakers in a few months time.

Hopeful estimates suggest that every adults in the UK could be offered a first dose of the vaccine this summer.

August

The Government will start to roll out a third dose of the vaccine among the oldest and most vulnerable groups.

Experts have said a third dose may well be necessary, especially among the most vulnerable groups, with boosters and vaccines against new variants becoming an annual event like flu jabs.

Rules on wearing masks and social distancing in England are set to continue into the autumn, and possibly to the end of the year.

Essex Live