Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out his “cautious but also irreversible” roadmap to relax lockdown restrictions in England on Monday (22 February), announcing a four-step plan.
The gradual easing of rules will be done in stages, with all restrictions on social contact, businesses and events to be lifted by 21 June.
Progressing along the ‘roadmap’ will depend on four key tests, including the success of the vaccine rollout, evidence of vaccine efficacy, an assessment of new variants, and keeping infection rates below a level that could put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
Mr Johnson acknowledged that scientific modelling suggests that lifting the current rules will increase Covid-19 cases and ultimately deaths, but insisted that restrictions can not continue indefinitely.
The first step of easing restrictions will see all pupils in England return to school from 8 march, with wider use of face masks and testing in secondary schools.
Socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person will also be permitted from this date, increasing to larger groups of up to six people, or two households, on 29 March, allowing people to gather in parks and gardens.
But what does the plan mean for the reopening of businesses? Here’s everything you need to know.
When can businesses reopen?
Several businesses, including non-essential retailers, must remain closed until 12 April.
After this date, the following business will be allowed to reopen providing it is safe to do so:
- Non-essential shops
- Nail and beauty salons
- Outdoor attractions, including zoos and theme parks
- Outdoor hospitality venues, such as beer gardens
- Indoor leisure, such as swimming pools and gyms
- Self-contained holiday accommodation, such as self-catering lets and camp sites
When will remaining businesses open?
Further restrictions will start to be lifted from 17 May, allowing two households, or groups of up to six people, to mix indoors.
Businesses that rely on an indoor setting will be allowed to reopen from this date, including dine-in service at pubs and restaurants, and crowds of up to 10,000 in the largest venues, such as football stadiums, will also be allowed at performances and sporting events.
The following business will be allowed to reopen from 17 May:
- Pubs (for indoor dining)
- Restaurants (for indoor dining)
- Sports stadiums
- Bowling alleys
- Bingo halls
- Steam rooms
International travel rules will also be reviewed, with 17 May targeted as the earliest possible date for a foreign holiday.
Following this, all remaining restrictions on social contact are expected to be lifted from 21 June.
From this date, this will allow larger events to take place and nightclubs will finally be able to reopen.
Weddings and funerals are also expected to be allowed to go ahead without any restrictions from 21 June, and it is hoped every adult will have been offered their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of July.
However, the roadmap that has been set out could still be altered by the Prime Minister if coronavirus cases begin to rise, or if the vaccine rollout fails to meet the set targets.
This article originally appeared on our sister title, Yorkshire Evening Post.