What will the prime minister say today about lockdown easing?
- Credit: PA
After over a month in lockdown, prime minister Boris Johnson is today expected to announce a number of upcoming changes to restrictions.
While the exact details are not yet known, this is what has been predicted:
The first change the PM is set to tell MPs is that all pupils in all years in England will be able to return to the classroom from March 8.
Pupils will also be allowed to restart outdoor after-school sports and activities.
It has already been confirmed that care home residents will be allowed to have one visitor to see them from March 8.
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After the re-opening of schools and visitors to care homes, it is believed that limited forms of socialising may return next.
It is predicted that in a fortnight, socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person will be permitted.
As part of this easing, people would also be allowed to sit down and have a drink or picnic.
The next milestone is expected to be on March 29, the start of the school Easter holidays, when larger groups will be allowed to gather in parks and gardens.
It is suggested the “rule of six” will return, along with new measures allowing two households totalling more than six people to meet – giving greater flexibility for families and friends.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said people would also be able to travel to see friends and family from another household from March 29, “as long as it’s outdoors, and it is two families, or the rule of six”.
However, anyone hoping to meet up with others inside may have to wait a lot longer, until possibly June, as this is one of the areas in which restrictions are expected to remain for much longer.
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts are also set to reopen, and organised adult and children’s sport, including grassroots football, could return from March 29, according to reports.
Shops, pubs and restaurants
The re-opening of non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants is likely to be another five weeks after limited socialising.
This would take their re-opening to early April.
It is thought that pubs and restaurants could be limited to outdoor service until May.
Many of us are turning once again to doing our own lockdown haircuts - and it may have to be this way for a few more weeks yet, as hairdressers are thought to be in the same category as non-essential shops and are expected to open in April.
Those wanting to get some indoor exercise will have to wait until May, when gyms are predicted to re-open
Cinemas and theatre
It is also thought to be a May re-opening for cinemas, theatres and other forms of indoor entertainment.
The loss of fans inside football games has been felt for a long time - but it is thought that those wanting to see their favourite teams in real life will have to wait until June, after the end of the current season.
It is thought that only it will be a limited number will be allowed in at first.
It is thought that UK holidays will be allowed from June onwards.
What tests are likely to need to be met to allow all this to happen?
Mr Johnson has repeatedly said that decisions at each stage will be governed by what the latest data shows.
There are four specific tests that the government is looking at to allow each step to go forward;
- Successful continuation of the vaccination programme
- Evidence that the vaccines have reduced the number of people needing hospital treatment or dying with the virus.
- Infection rates do not pose a risk of a surge in hospital admissions
- New variants of coronavirus do not change the risks associating with lifting restrictions
Further details on the roadmap out of lockdown are expected when the prime minister addresses the House of Commons at around 3.30pm.