Rules will be lifted in stages and four conditions must be met at each stage.
The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:
The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions
The first stage of easing will be split into two parts:
From 8 March –
All schools will open with outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed.
Recreation in a public space – such as a park – will be allowed between two people, meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic.
new rules will allow each care home resident in England to have one regular visitor, with whom they can hold hands.*Although schools are set to reopen to all pupils on 8 March, it is thought a few days’ flexibilities may be built in to allow measures like testing to be put in place.
From 29 March –
Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed. It is understood this will include gatherings in private gardens.
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children’s sport, such as grassroots football, will also return
people will once again be able to travel out of their areas – although guidance will likely still recommend staying local, and overnight stays will not be permitted.
No earlier than 12 April
The hospitality industry, including pubs and restaurants, is expected to reopen outdoors with the rule of six or new two-household rule in force. There will be no curfew or restrictions on alcohol only being served with a substantial meal, however, customers must be seated.
Non-essential retail, hairdressers, barbers and nail salons, will all reopen, as will gyms, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas, public libraries, community centres and self-contained holiday accommodation.
Funerals will be allowed to take place with a maximum of 30 people, while weddings will resume with up to 15 attendees.
No earlier than 17 May
Gatherings of up to 30 people will be permitted outdoors, however, the rule of six/two-household rule will apply indoors as people are allowed to meet inside for the first time in months.
Pubs and restaurants will reopen indoors, as will cinemas, children’s play areas, hotels and B&Bs.
Some large events will be able to take place, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events.
Up to 30 people will be allowed to attend weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events, including wakes. A broader range of stand-alone life events will also be permitted at this step, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.
No earlier than 21 June
All legal limits on social contact will be lifted from 21 June at the earliest.
Once social-distancing is completely eased, nightclubs should be able to reopen and restrictions on events and live performances, including weddings, will finally be lifted.