Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined a timetable of when lockdown restrictions could be lifted and life could start to return to normal.
Here we take a look at the key dates and what could change when.
Step 1a – Monday 8 March
- Schools can reopen to pupils (some may be later than others)
- Childcare and children’s supervised activities can resume
- People can leave home for recreation or exercise with their household or support bubble, or with one person from outside their household.
- Care home residents can have one regular visitor
Step 1b – Monday 29 March
- Outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two households will be allowed
- Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis courts and golf courses can reopen and people can take part in formally organised outdoor sports
- The ‘stay at home’ rule will end but people should continue to work from home where possible, and foreign travel will remain banned other than for a small number of reasons
Step 2 – Monday 12 April
- Non-essential retail and hairdressers, beauty parlours and public buildings such as libraries and community centres reopen
- Gyms and outdoor entertainment venues such as zoos reopen
- Hospitality venues with beer gardens can serve people outdoors with no need to order substantial food but customers must order, eat and drink while seated
- Campsites and holiday lets can reopen
Step 3 – Monday 17 May
- Pubs and restaurants can open indoors, with no need to order a meal with drinks, but you will have to remain seated to order, eat and drink
- Hotels and indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play centres reopen and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes can resume
- The rule of six or two households will apply indoors
- Larger performances and sporting events with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full. In the largest outdoor seated venues, up to 10,000 people can attend, or a quarter-full.
- Up to 30 people allowed to attend weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes
- Covid-secure rules in all sectors to remain in place
Step 4 – Monday 21 June
- Removal of all legal limits on social contact
- Nightclubs reopen and large events and performances resume
- No limits on people attending weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes
This step is subject to the results of a research project into the use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection.
The Government will also review social distancing and other measures such as face coverings to inform decisions on the timing and circumstances when they may be lifted
Are the dates set in stone?
The Government has set four tests for moving from one step to another.
1: The vaccine roll-out programme continues successfully
2: Vaccines are reducing hospitalisations and deaths
3: Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations
4: New variants aren’t affecting the risks