The Prime Minister has asked the people of England to “behave responsibly” when the pub gardens reopen and restaurants return to al fresco dining, in a bid to greatly ease England’s coronavirus lockdown.
Shops that are not absolutely necessary will reopen on Monday (April 12), as will hairdressers, fitness studios, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos.
Although this is a step towards normalcy, indoor social mixing will remain severely limited. About two in five adults have yet to get their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and the vast majority still need to get both.
The Prime Minister cautioned during the “big step forward” when a scientist instructing the government warned that the rules must be followed to minimize a possible recovery in the number of cases.
“I’m sure it will be a huge relief for the business owners who have been closed for so long and for everyone else it will be a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed,” said Johnson.
“I urge everyone to continue acting responsibly and remembering ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ to suppress Covid as we continue our vaccination program.”
The celebrations to ease restrictions were dampened by national mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh.
Mr Johnson postponed his own feast and government communications were reduced to key messages following Philip’s death on Friday at the age of 99.
Meanwhile, Wales will also enjoy new freedoms starting Monday as non-essential retail reopenings and border restrictions will be relaxed to allow travel with the rest of the UK and Ireland again.
The remaining students will return to face-to-face tuition in Wales and Northern Ireland, with the steps being repeated in Scotland when students return from their Easter break.
The “stay at home” order in Northern Ireland is also ending as the number of people allowed to meet outdoors increases from six to ten.
Professor Peter Horby, chairman of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (Nervtag), told Times Radio, “The buzzword really needs to be caution.
“It’s not clear when or how big it will be, but I think there will inevitably be some recovery in the number of times things are relaxed.”
The Oxford University scientist said the vaccination program will minimize hospital admissions and deaths, but warned it will not be fully effective.
“Now the extent really depends on how well we comply with the ongoing restrictions, so we really have to do this step by step,” he added.
“I think we can be happy and enjoy the freedoms, but we still have to realize that there are still large numbers of people who have not been infected or vaccinated and therefore they are at risk.”
In England, pubs and restaurants have made changes during the lockdown to maximize their ability to serve customers outside.
However, the British Beer and Pub Association estimates that only 40% of the licensed space has the space to reopen for outdoor service.
The previous curfew at 10 p.m. and the requirement to order a full meal with a drink have been abolished, but social distancing must be observed.
Domestic vacations can resume to a certain extent, allowing overnight stays in standalone accommodations such as vacation homes and campsites that do not share interior facilities.
However, these can only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.
International holidays remain banned until an unknown date as the cost of testing is controversial.
People are not allowed to visit each other’s homes as indoor gathering outside of the support bladders is still prohibited.
It will be the third in a series of eases since the third national lockdown was made mandatory in England on January 6th.
The next important date is May 17, when indoor gatherings are permitted under the “six-point rule” – if the Prime Minister believes the vaccination program safely breaks the link between infections and deaths.
After three months of full national lockdown, the government announced on Sunday that an additional seven people had died in the UK within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test. Another 1,730 laboratory-confirmed cases were also announced.
Around 61% of adults have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to official figures, suggesting that more than 32 million people have received a sting. More than 14% had both doses.