On the 22nd of February 2021, the Prime Minister set out our roadmap for a cautious easing of national restrictions, which will ensure that we do not undo the incredible progress that we have made so far.
For now, you must continue to follow the below rules at www.stuartanderson.org.uk/national-restrictions.
There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step. This includes four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions, followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.
Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of the previous step. This assessment will be based on four tests:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
Step 1: the 8th of March 2021.
- Pupils and students in all schools and further education settings can safely return to face-to-face teaching, supported by twice-weekly testing of secondary school and college pupils.
- Wraparound childcare and other supervised children’s activities can resume, where they enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group.
- Students on university courses requiring practical teaching, specialist facilities or onsite assessments will also return but all others will need to continue learning online, and we will review the options for when they can return by the end of the Easter Holidays.
- The Stay at Home requirement will remain, but people will be able to meet one person from outside their household for outdoor recreation – such as for a coffee on a bench or a picnic in a park - in addition to exercise. We are advising the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable to shield at least until the end of March.
- Care home residents will be able to nominate a named visitor, able to see them regularly provided they are tested and wear PPE.
- Funerals of 30, wakes and weddings of 6.
Step 1: the 29th of March 2021.
- From this point, people will no longer be legally required to stay at home, although many lockdown restrictions will remain.
- It will become possible to meet in limited numbers outdoors, where the risk is lower. The Rule of Six will return outdoors, including in private gardens and outdoor meetings of two households will also be permitted on the same basis, so that families in different circumstances can meet.
- Outdoor sports facilities – such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools – will be able to reopen
- Formally organised outdoor sports will resume, subject to guidance.
- People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise all travel wherever possible. No holidays.
Step 2: at least five weeks after Step 1, no earlier than the 12th of April 2021 - with an announcement at least seven days in advance.
- Non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, will reopen.
- Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances will also be permitted.
- Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen - but only for use by people on their own or with their household.
- Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only. There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and no curfew - although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.
- Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
- Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (from 6).
Step 3: no earlier than the 17th of May - provided the data satisfies the four tests.
- Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
- Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen. Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - although we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.
- Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.
- Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).
- In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can 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. Other life events that will be permitted include bar mitzvahs and christenings
Step 4: at least 5 weeks after Step 3, no earlier than the 21st of June.
- With appropriate mitigations, we will aim to remove all legal limits on social contact, and on weddings and other life events.
- We will re-open everything up to and including nightclubs, and enable large events such as theatre performances above the limits of step 3, potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection.
- This will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.
- No legal limit on all life events.
In the meantime, the vaccination programme continues at pace, with the announcement of a new target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to every adult by the end of July. We can’t rule out re-imposing restrictions at local or regional level if evidence suggests they are necessary to contain or suppress a new variant which escapes the vaccines.