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Lockdown easing: from schools to pubs - what will open when?

Following the Prime Minister's announcement of a roadmap to the easing of the lockdown in England, we've got a handy guide to what's likely to happen and when.

Step 1

From 8th March

Pupils will return to face-to-face education in schools and Further Education colleges. Higher Education students at English universities on practical courses can also return.

Wraparound childcare, such as after-school clubs, can reopen to enable parents to work, attend education, access medical care or attend a support group.

Outdoor recreation, such as a picnic, is allowed. This can be on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.

You'll be allowed to leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors - but the 'stay at home' requirement will still be in force meaning other non-essential journeys are not permitted.

Indoor visits to care homes start again for a single named visitor.

From 29th March

When schools break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29th March but many restrictions will remain in place. You should continue to work from home where you can and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes.

Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed.

Step 2

From 12th April (possibly later)

Non-essential retailers will be permitted to reopen, as well as personal care services such as hairdressers and beauty salons.

Public buildings including libraries and community centres will reopen.

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups); as will most outdoor attractions and settings - including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas.

Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, will also be able to reopen.

Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

While funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.

Step 3

From 17th May (possibly later)

The government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances. This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - this will be kept under review as to whether it is safe to increase this.

The advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging, could be reviewed at this point - but until then you should continue to keep your distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will reopen - and venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.

Other indoor locations to open up will include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).

Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Step 4

From 21st June (possibly later)

At this point, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.

That will see the reopening of remaining premises, including nightclubs, and ease the restrictions on large events and performances. This will be subject to the results of a scientific Events Research Programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where the use of testing and other techniques will be used to cut the risk of infection. The same Events Research Programme will guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.



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