‘Hands, face, space… and fresh air’: Boris Johnson urges people to be ‘cautious’ as new looser lockdown slogan launches – with an ads drive to encourage working from home
- First major lockdown easing in months takes effect in England today with mixing outdoors allowed again
- The ‘stay at home’ order is over with six people or two entire households now allowed to meet up outside
- Boris Johnson urged the public to be ‘cautious’ pointing to surging cases in Europe and threat of variants
Boris Johnson urged people to be ‘cautious’ today as he unveiled a new ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ slogan for the looser lockdown.
The PM said he was hoping for a ‘great British summer of sport’ as the brutal restrictions ease in England – with up to six people or two entire households allowed to mix outdoors.
But Mr Johnson also pointed to surging cases in Europe and the threat of variants emerging as he pleaded with the public not to get carried away.
The warning is being underlined with the new messaging stressing the importance of ventilation, and a huge information drive to make clear that the crisis is not passed.
Ads will implore people to ‘take the next step safely’ – reminding them that they need to stay socially distanced, cannot meet indoors, and should keep working from home where possible.
Ads will implore people to ‘take the next step safely’ – reminding them that they need to stay socially distanced, cannot meet indoors, and should keep working from home where possible
Boris Johnson – pictured out running this morning – will hold a press conference in his new £2.6million Downing Street briefing room this evening as he urges the public to ‘remain cautious’
Another ad sees a psychologist giving advice on how to deal with friends and family who suggest breaking the rules, saying people may need to be ‘firm’ and give ‘gentle reminders’ about distancing.
TV doctor Hilary Jones appears on a campaign which will run across television and radio from tonight, encouraging viewers to resist the temptation to hug those who are not in the same household or bubble.
Ministers are concerned that people will see today’s easing of the lockdown as an excuse to meet indoors, even though this is not allowed until May.
From today groups of up to six, or two households, can socialise in parks and gardens once more, while outdoor sports facilities can reopen after the stay-at-home order ended on Monday.
Among the first to re-open its doors was the Morley Hayes Golf Club, near Derby, with players teeing off at 12.01am on Monday for a seven-hole floodlit charity tournament.
Mr Johnson – who will hold a press conference in his new £2.6million briefing room this evening – stressed that ‘we must remain cautious, with cases rising across Europe and new variants threatening our vaccine rollout’, while warm weather was excepted to accompany the relaxation.
‘Despite today’s easements, everyone must continue to stick to the rules, remember hands, face, space, and come forward for a vaccine when called,’ the Prime Minister added.
He is expected to urge the public to take personal responsibility by sticking to the restrictions as he holds a Downing Street press conference.
Football and cricket pitches, tennis and basketball courts, outdoor swimming pools, golf courses and sailing clubs are now free to reopen after months of being shuttered.
Organised team sports can also resume outdoors, meaning grassroots competitions can take place ahead of the Easter break without the need for social distancing.
Restrictions were eased as official figures showed more than 30 million people in the UK have received a first vaccine dose, accounting for about 57 per cent of all adults.
Mr Johnson said he hopes the easing will ‘kick-start a Great British summer of sport’ as sports stars teamed up with the Government to encourage a return to physical activity.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the progress of the vaccine roll-out ‘must be protected’, adding ‘when you meet others do so outdoors and keep a safe distance’.
Chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty added: ‘The evidence is very clear that outdoor spaces are safer than indoors. It is important to remember this as we move into the next phase.’
Mr Johnson has warned that a spike in cases could be seen as parts of Europe are struck by a third wave of infections but hopes the vaccine roll-out will suppress hospitalisations and deaths.
The Prime Minister has sought to lose weight after his own hospitalisation with Covid-19 and the Government is now calling for the public to participate in a fitness drive, with children recommended to aim for an hour of physical activity a day, and adults for at least 150 minutes.
England World Cup-winning cricket captain Eoin Morgan said: ‘With summer – and the cricket season – just around the corner, there’s no better time for everyone, young and old, to get back to having fun by getting outdoors, being active and playing sport.’
British number one women’s tennis player Johanna Konta said: ‘I’m so happy people in England are now able to get back on court and enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of tennis.’
England Rugby Union prop Kyle Sinckler added: ‘I can’t wait to see you guys get out there, and all the kids getting back out there to enjoy themselves.’
The fitness drive comes after the latest figures showed more than 150,000 deaths involving coronavirus have been recorded in the UK.
In Wales, the ‘stay local’ order ended on Saturday and people were allowed to stay in self-contained holiday accommodation.
The stay home order in Scotland is to end on Friday, while in Northern Ireland up to six people, or two households, will be able to meet outdoors from Thursday.
It is the second major easing of England’s lockdown imposed in early January, with schools having been reopened to all pupils on March 8.
While greater outdoor freedoms are now permitted, the Government is still advising people to work from home where possible and minimise the number of journeys they take.
The next step in the roadmap to easing England’s lockdown is April 12, which is earmarked for non-essential shops to reopen and for outdoor hospitality, including pubs and restaurants.
Sports are back, weddings just got (a bit) bigger – and the rule of six returns for gardens: What you can – and can’t – do as England steps out of lockdown on Happy Monday
England is today enjoying the first major relaxation of its lockdown rules since they came into force in January.
As the country reaches the next stage of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, gatherings of up to six people – or two full households – are now allowed in parks or in back gardens.
Golf, tennis and team sports are also able to resume – with the PM wishing ‘the very best of luck’ to those heading back to pitches, courts and fields.
With Britain today passing the 30 million-mark for number of vaccines given – and with cases plummeting by a third in just one week – the Government is under increasing pressure to speed up the easing of lockdown rules.
But for now, Britons can soak up the sought-after sunshine in the park with friends – or work up a sweat with a kick-about on the pitch – as Mr Johnson urged everyone to ‘remain cautious’ and stick to the rules.
Here, MailOnline answers your most-pressing questions about what the latest lockdown rules mean for you.
Do I have to stay at home?
No. Today marks the end of the Government’s stay-at-home guidance, which stated that Britons can only leave the house for daily exercise, to visit their ‘bubble’ household or for essential journeys – such as to the shops or doctors.
People can now meet outdoors in groups of six – or two full households of any size – in parks or back gardens.
A ‘household’ can include an existing support bubble, if eligible.
The Government is instead urging Britons to ‘stay local’. It is not yet known what distance constitutes ‘local’.
Social distancing rules for people not in the same household are still in place.
Can I have a wedding and a reception?
As of today, the ‘exceptional circumstances’ rule has been lifted for weddings.
Before March 29, Britons were only able to consider booking a wedding or civil partnership in exceptional circumstances.
This may be, for example, if you or your partner is seriously ill and not expected to recover or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.
This rule no longer applies, meaning weddings – which must be limited to six people – are open to all.
Wedding receptions can go ahead but they must adhere to social distancing rules.
So an outdoor reception of six people from any number of different households – or two full households of any size – is permitted in a park or back garden.
But an indoor reception at home, for example, must be carried out within the household or support bubble.
Will my hairdresser be open?
No. Personal care premises like hairdressers, barbers and nail salons will not reopen until April 12.
As Britain reaches the next stage of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, gatherings of up to six people – or two full households – are now allowed in parks or in back gardens (file image)
Can I meet up with friends indoors?
No. Meetings of up to six people from any number of different households – or two full households of any size – must be outdoors.
Only those within your household or support bubble can meet with you indoors.
Can I have a picnic in the park?
Yes. As long as the rule of six or two-household limit is followed.
Can I have a barbecue in the garden with my family?
Yes. As long as the rule of six or two-household limit is followed.
Britons can soak up the sought-after sunshine in the park with friends. Pictured: People having picnics on Primrose Hill (file image)
Can I play football in the park?
Yes. As of today, you can take part in formally-organised outdoor sports with any number of people.
Outdoor sports venues and facilities are now able to reopen.
Can my child attend an outdoor playgroup?
Yes. Formally-organised parent and child groups can take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under five will not be counted in this number.
Childcare and supervised activities are also allowed outdoors for all children.
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