"our decisions will be led by data, not dates."
Boris Johnson has unveiled a ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown with a four-phase exit strategy.
The four-step plan would see restrictions gradually eased, with changes every five weeks if the government’s tests are met.
It is believed the PM has taken a cautious approach so that each stage of the re-opening is “irrevocable”, meaning the UK does not return to lockdown.
However, Mr Johnson warned that the “threat remains” and cases will continue as no vaccines can offer 100% protection for the entire population.
Mr Johnson said: “At every stage, our decisions will be led by data, not dates.”
The PM stated that all schools will reopen from March 8, 2021. But secondary school pupils will need to wear masks for “weeks”.
Another measure of relaxation will be that people will be able to meet socially with one friend or family members outdoors.
The next stage will not be until March 29, when ‘Stay at Home’ will be dropped in favour of ‘Stay Local’, and the Rule of Six returns.
It will be extended to allow two households to gather, allowing relatives to meet properly for the first time in months.
Tennis courts and golf courses will also reopen then.
However, shops, hairdressers and pubs must remain closed until April 12 at the earliest.
Boris Johnson stated that social distancing rules will stay in force until June 21 at the earliest, with a government review to decide their future after that.
Another review will be held then to decide whether vaccine certificates could be deployed in the UK.
This is to help open up the economy.
Mr Johnson said: “The threat remains substantial with the numbers in hospital only now beginning to fall below the peak of the first wave in April.
“But we are able to take these steps because of the resolve of the British people and the extraordinary success of our NHS in vaccinating more than 17.5 million people across the UK.”
He added: “So, as the modelling released by Sage today shows, 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-Covid Britain, or indeed, a zero-Covid world and we cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that debilitate our economy, our physical and mental wellbeing and the life chances of our children.”
Boris Johnson’s Roadmap out of Lockdown
Step One Part One – March 8
- All students will return to schools and colleges.
- So-called wrap-around childcare will be allowed to resume, paving the way for after and before school clubs to reopen.
- People can meet one other person outside for a picnic or for coffee.
- Care home residents will be allowed one regular named visitor.
- The ‘Stay at Home’ order will remain, with non-essential travel banned.
Step One Part Two – March 29
- Outdoor gatherings or up to six people or a larger group from up to two households will be allowed in private gardens.
- Outdoor sports will be allowed to reopen and people will be able to take part in formally-organised outdoor sports.
- ‘Stay at Home’ will end and instead ‘Stay Local’ will be encouraged.
- Working from home where possible remains and while international travel is still banned, essential purposes are allowed.
Step Two – April 12
- Non-essential businesses like hairdressers and shops will be able to reopen.
- Public buildings like libraries and museums will be able to welcome back customers.
- Hospitality venues and outdoor attractions will be able to reopen in some form.
- Restrictions on household mixing still remain. Indoor activities only permitted for members of the same household.
- Gyms and swimming pools reopen but only on the basis that people go on their own or with their own household.
- Pubs and restaurants reopen but can only have customers outdoors. Customers must abide by the rules on social contact. Customers must also be seated when ordering food or drink.
- Campsites and holiday lets where indoor facilities are not shared with other households can also reopen but trips must be restricted to a single household.
- Funerals will allow up to 30 people.
- Wedding receptions will allow up to 15 guests.
Step Three – May 17
- The two household and rule of six for outdoor gatherings will be ditched. However, gatherings of more than 30 people in places like parks will still be banned.
- Indoor mixing will be allowed. The rule of six or up to two households will be allowed to meet.
- Hospitality venues will be able to open indoors, with the rule of six and two household limit in place. Large groups will be able to meet outdoors.
- Entertainment venues can reopen as well as hotels and B&Bs. Indoor adult sports groups and exercise classes can also reopen.
- Indoor sporting and performance events will allow a capacity of 1,000 people or half full, whichever is lower.
Step Four – June 21
- If Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to fall, social distancing will be ditched.
- Different households will be allowed to meet indoors.
- UK holidays will be permitted, though international holidays may require the development of a vaccine passport system.
- Larger events will be able to reopen as well as nightclubs.
- There will be no limit on all life events such as weddings.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that there will not be a tier system for the easing of lockdown.
Each phase will be subject to the rate of infections decreasing as well as the success of the vaccine rollout.