The end of the lockdown is in sight and we are only three weeks away from the next stage in Boris Johnson’s roadmap to freedom.
April 12th marks the next big milestone if Step 2 of the government’s plans to “Unlock England” is due to take effect.
Although some of the restrictions in Part Two of Step 1 will be lifted on March 29th, many of the big changes that will affect people’s lives won’t happen until after Easter.
The government announced details of its four-step roadmap in February, saying there would be five weeks between each step.
Seven days before each change, it will be announced whether the latest medical and scientific findings support a further relaxation of the rules.
Some of the factors to consider before “unlocking” include:
- The success of the vaccination program
- Evidence suggests vaccines reduce hospital stays and deaths
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions that would not put sustained pressure on the NHS.
- Evaluation of new Covid strains, so-called “Variants of Concern” (VOC)
But when all four of these criteria are met, write in your diary Monday, April 12th, as life will become a little more normal.
What can we do after April 12th?
Hairdressers and beauty salons – finally we can have our hair cut and colored in hairdressing salons and hairdressers. Beauty salons and nail bars are also reopening.
Gyms – these open their doors again, but users can only use the gym and pool, exercise classes are still prohibited.
Stores – all non-essential stores can be reopened.
Restaurants and pubs – these can serve food and drinks, but only outdoors. There is no curfew or the requirement to order an “extensive meal”, but customers must order, eat and drink through table service.
Outdoor attractions such as zoos, farms, theme parks, and drive-in theaters can be reopened.
Libraries and community centers – these can open their doors and greet people back.
Classes and activities for children – these can be resumed, but with a maximum of 15 people.
Overnight – Self-catering holidays in the UK are allowed but there is still no household mixing.
Funerals – 30 mourners are allowed.
Weddings – this can happen, but with a maximum of 15 guests.
Which blocking rules still apply after April 12th?
It is important to keep in mind that many restrictions will remain in place after this date and will not be lifted until May 17th.
Holidays – You still cannot go abroad for leisure and hotels and B & Bs will remain closed.
Meet Other People – Households are still not allowed to mix and bubbles are only allowed outside, not inside, your home.
Sports and exercise – no indoor sports for adults are allowed.
Events – large outdoor events are not yet permitted.
Social distancing – the 2 meter rule still applies, as does wearing face masks.
When is the next step?
May 17th is step 3 on the roadmap when the next major restrictions are lifted.
This includes easing the limits on seeing friends and family and reintroducing the rule of six, which allows groups of up to six people to meet indoors.
Pubs and restaurants can serve customers indoors, indoor training sessions can begin again, and hotels and B & Bs can welcome guests again.
Up to 30 people can attend events such as weddings, funerals, and baptisms.
Some large-scale outdoor performances and sporting events are also permitted.