Boris Johnson reveals country's path out of lockdown with hopes of back to normality by June

Boris Johnson has set out a four-step plan to unlock the country with the hopes of removing all restrictions by June.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 4:22 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd February 2021, 4:28 pm

Speaking in the Commons the Prime Minister said the road map "will guide us cautiously and irreversibly towards regaining our freedoms while doing all we can to protect our people against Covid".

The plan is split into four steps - with at least five weeks between each to gauge progress.

And officials have stressed that the dates provided were the earliest at which each measure would be removed, as the Government will be driven by “data, not dates”.

Boris Johnson heads for the Commons. Photo: PA
Boris Johnson heads for the Commons. Photo: PA

The lifting will cover the whole of England, with no return to the regional tier system, and working from home will continue to be advised until at least June and possibly longer.

Mr Johnson said: "We cannot escape the fact that lifting lockdown will result in more cases, more hospitalisations, and sadly, more deaths, and this would happen whenever lockdown is lifted whether now or in six or nine months, because there will always be some vulnerable people who are not protected by the vaccines.

"There is therefore no credible route to a zero CovidBritain or indeed a zero Covid world. And we cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that debilitate our economy, our physical and mental wellbeing, the life chances of our children, and that is why it is so crucial that this roadmap should be cautious, but also irreversible."

He added: "We're setting out on what I hope and believe is a one way road to freedom, and this journey is made possible by the pace of the vaccination program."

Starting on March 8 where care home residents will be allowed one in-person visitor, all children will return to school, and after school clubs will be allowed again.

People will also be able to meet one other person socially outdoors - a change from the current rules where you are only allowed to do so if taking part in exercise.

From March 29, this will be expanded with the return of the rule of six where up to six people from two households will be allowed to meet outdoors, including in private gardens.

And the Government’s message will move to encouraging people to stay local.

Outdoor sports facilities will be able to reopen and people will be able to take part in formally-organised outdoor sports.

From April 12, shops can reopen as well as hairdressers and public buildings such as libraries and museums, plus zoos and theme parks.

Gyms and swimming pools will also be opened, and pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open outdoors, with no return of the rule that a substantial meal will be needed to drink alcohol, and curfews will also be scrapped.

Self-contained accommodation will be allowed to open, and the number of people allowed at weddings and wakes will rise to 15, this will then again rise to 30 from May 17 with step three.

Also from May 17 hospitality venues will be allowed to open indoors, along with entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas, but the rule of six or two households will still apply and people must remain seated.

Outdoors, limits will be lifted on how many people can meet.

At this point the rest of the accommodation sector will be allowed to reopen including hotels and B&Bs, plus adult sports groups held indoors and exercise classes can resume.

Overnight stays away from home with family will also be allowed as long as the rule of six is maintained.

Finally, in step four - from June 21 - all legal limits on social contact will be removed, and the final sectors of the economy such as nightclubs will be able to reopen, with measures on large events and performances also lifted, with hopes for similar news on weddings.