National news reported tonight that the government has confirmed that the lockdown will begin lifting on March 8th.
Picnics and coffee in the park will be the first permitted activities that made the news their top story, according to the Daily Telegraph his website This evening.
A high-ranking government source told the newspaper that people in public places are allowed to meet one-on-one with others from a different household to eat and drink.
Yet says the Mirror Online The source also warned that indoor households might not mix.
In addition, ministers are expected to talk about reopening pubs where people can eat outside at least on the first weekend in April.
It comes hours after Tory MPs put pressure on Boris Johnson to ask him to set a schedule for the coronavirus restrictions lifted, with a full end of controls by the end of April.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the leaders of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) said the “tremendous pace” of vaccination rollout meant that restrictions should ease from early March.
They said ministers would need to do a cost-benefit analysis to justify any controls that were left after that date – and asked for a “roadmap” showing when they would be removed.
The letter was organized by CRG Chair and Vice Chairs Mark Harper and Steve Baker and is said to have been supported by 63 Conservative MPs.
The letter came amid warnings from scientists telling the government that lifting restrictions too soon could endanger another wave of the disease as large as the current one.
Earlier, the prime minister said he was “optimistic” that he could announce plans to relax the rules “cautiously” when he drew up his “roadmap” outside the lockdown period on February 22nd.
However, their letter states that the government’s “national priority” of reopening schools in England by March 8th must be “achieved”.
The letter notes that by March 8, the government’s four top priority groups – including those over 70, who account for 88% of deaths and 55% of hospital stays – will have received the vaccine and will be protected.
“Any restrictions remaining after March 8th should be proportionate to the ever-increasing number of people we have protected,” it said.
“Ministers must provide evidence of effectiveness and proportionality with a cost-benefit analysis for each restriction and a roadmap for lifting it.”
Restrictions they “had concerns” about included those related to outdoor sports and swimming pools, gyms, personal care companies, nursing home visits, hotels, event industry companies, and weddings.
By Easter, pubs, restaurants and other eateries should be able to open in a way that is Covid-safe, but still allows them to operate “in an economically viable manner”.
And by the end of April – when vaccine should have been offered to all nine of the government’s top priority groups, including those over 50 – there will be “no justification” for legal restrictions to remain in place.
“Covid is a serious disease and we have to control it. However, just like Covid, lockdowns and restrictions cause immense social and health damage and have an enormous impact on people’s livelihoods, ”the letter said.
“The vaccine gives us immunity to Covid, but it must also give us permanent immunity to Covid-related bans and restrictions.
“This should be a moment of unity – for our country and our party – as we look to a much better future with confidence, hope and optimism and recapture our lives once and for all.”