Before each new stage, the government will review COVID-related data to assess the impact of restriction easing so far, and whether it’s safe to progress to the next stage.
The four key ‘tests’ that must be met before progressing to the next stage are:
- The vaccine rollout continues successfully
- Evidence shows vaccines are effectively reducing hospitalisations and deaths
- Case numbers are not rising so fast as to overwhelm the NHS
- New variants are not causing unforeseen risk
The reopening will happen uniformly across England, meaning that the regional tier system has been abolished.
Here’s a breakdown of Boris’s four-step roadmap. The dates are the earliest possible option, and delays could occur if the data isn’t looking good.
Step 1 (part 1): 8th March
- All schools and colleges will reopen, including after-school clubs
- You will be allowed to meet one other person from outside your household to socialise outdoors
- The stay at home order will still be in place
Step 1 (part 2): 29th March, earliest
- You will be allowed to meet more people outside in parks and gardens, either under the ‘rule of six’ or between two households
- Outdoor sports facilities will reopen, for example tennis or basketball courts
- The stay at home order will end
Step 2: 12th April, earliest
- Non-essential retail shops, hairdressers, nail salons, museums, libraries and outdoor attractions will reopen
- Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms, will reopen
- Hospitality venues can reopen but for outdoor service only, so pubs and restaurants can only serve customers outside under the ‘rule of six’ or two household rule
- Hospitality venues won’t have the substantial meal requirement to purchase alcohol as before and no curfews will be imposed
- Self-contained holidays in the UK, such as campsites and holiday lets where indoor facilities are not shared between households, will be allowed for households
- Funerals with 30 people will continue and the number of wedding guests will rise from six to 15
Step 3: 17th May, earliest
- Most restrictions on outdoor socialising will be removed, and two households or groups of up to six will be allowed to mix indoors
- Indoor hospitality can reopen with same restrictions, as well as entertainment venues such as cinemas
- Gatherings of more than 30 will remain illegal
- Sporting events will be able to resume with limited crowds
- 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, wakes, funerals, christenings, bar mitzvahs and other life events
Step 4: 21st June, earliest
- All limits on social contact, such as the ‘rule of six’, to be removed for both indoor and outdoor settings
- Larger events can go ahead and other businesses which previously couldn’t open, such as nightclubs, to reopen.
There will be no announcement for international travel, which will be addressed in a future statement.