BORIS Johnson will today reveal his four step lockdown exit roadmap, which will give Brits an idea of what to expect during the phased return to normality.
Boris Johnson will address the nation at 7pm during a Downing Street press conference.
Mr Johnson has repeatedly stressed that lockdown will be eased cautiously, and he will be guided by “data not dates”.
His blueprint will see lockdown eased in four steps — with four key tests applied to each stage of the way to freedom.
Mr Johnson will warn that for each step to be taken, benchmark numbers will need to be met on:
- Covid cases
- Hospital admissions
He will reserve the right to slam the brakes on lifting lockdown if a new variant of the virus emerges.
Step One will see kids return to classrooms on March 8 and “ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely” prioritised.
The Prime Minister is preparing a major school safety campaign this week to convince parents children are safe, despite nine teaching unions saying they want a staggered return.
He will also unveil millions in support for a major catch up push and a Covid mass-testing regime for all schools to follow in the coming days.
But a fresh bout Labour civil war exploded once again after Sir Keir threw his weight behind a “big bang” opening – to the fury of left-wingers in his party.
And they were backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury who said he was “absolutely sure” the government was right to prioritise the reopening of schools, saying: "That is probably the most urgent thing, it's been the most urgent thing right the way through."
It came as it emerged pupils will be given extra classes during the summer holidays to help them catch up with lessons missed during the pandemic.
Brits will also be able to socialise outside with a friend or relative from another household, with current regulations limiting meet-ups to exercise only.
The Rule of Six is expected to return on March 29 to parks and private gardens — allowing six people from up to six different households to mix outdoors.
If just two households come together they can meet with no cap on their size.
This means families will be meeting together in parks and gardens by Easter.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi revealed families who live far apart will be able to travel across the country to meet outdoors from that date.
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts are also set to reopen at the end of next month.
March 29 is also expected to mark the return of organised adult and children’s sport – including grassroots football.
Later in April, non-essential retail is expected to open should the infection rate continue to remain stable.
Hairdressers are not set to open before mid-April.
Brits should be able to enjoy drinks alfresco outside from April if cases continue to fall at the current rate.
And families are expected to be allowed to meet together in parks and gardens as the Government loosens socialising restrictions.
The government has set a target of vaccinating all over-50s by April 15.
May is expected to mark a full return to indoor entertainment.
Pubs and restaurants are expected to begin hosting diners indoors, though the Rule of Six is expected to stick around.
We’re also expected to get an announcement on restrictions to indoor mixing between different households, though restrictions may not be lifted until June.
No official date has been given for the reopening of gyms in the UK, as Brits are still battling through the third lockdown.
Gyms will likely stay closed until April or May – with exact dates for the earliest opening to be announced today.
Currently you can leave your home to exercise.
But, in England this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
In early June, we could see the return of the Rule of Six for socialising indoors.
The hope is that the UK will return "broadly back to normal" by early July.
The PM will also raise hopes of fans being back into grounds in time for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, now starting in June.
Millions of tests, which return a result in half an hour, could be used every day in settings from workplaces to football stadiums.
But Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi suggested today that they will only be deployed once nine in 10 adults have already had the Covid jab.
He said: “We want to make sure we reopen the economy as quickly as possible but make sure it’s sustainable."
While nothing is confirmed, there are thoughts that Brits may have to wait until at least September before they can flock back to cinemas and theatres.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has hinted that venues will need to mass test visitors won't be allowed to reopen until almost all the population is vaccinated.
Nightclub doors have been kept shut since the first Covid lockdown in March 2020, and it's likely that they will be among the last places to reopen.
This is due to the difficulty of making them Covid-secure due to limited social distancing and lower ability to keep areas clean constantly.
Large events could also be a way off.
The PM has earmarked fast lateral flow tests as a key way of getting larger venues open to the public again once lockdown is lifted.
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