The Prime Minister announced to Parliament on Monday 22 February, the government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England.
- It published a four-step roadmap to ease restrictions across England and provide a route back to a more normal way of life. Before taking each step, the Government have confirmed that they will review the latest data on the impact of the previous step, against four tests on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants to be met at each stage:
- Step 1— no earlier than 8 March* – return to face-to-face education in schools and colleges; the Stay-at-Home requirement will remain, but people can leave home for recreation outdoors such as a coffee or picnic with their household or support bubble, or with one person outside their household. Further limited changes from 29 March, the Stay-at-Home order will end, although many lockdown restrictions will remain, Rule of six or two households outdoors allowed; outdoor sport and leisure facilities open, organised outdoor sport allowed.
- Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April* – Non-essential retail and personal care open; hospitality outdoors open; indoor leisure (gyms and swimming pools) open and self-contained holiday accommodation open. Event pilots begin.
- Step 3 – no earlier than 17 May* – Gatherings of over 30 people remain illegal; outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, and outdoor theatres can reopen. Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply; indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen. International travel will be subject to review.
- Step 4 – no earlier than 21 June* – No legal limits on social contact, reopening the remaining closed settings like Nightclubs, and larger events, no legal limit on all live events (all subject to review).
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The decision on each stage will be based on data not dates, and Government will move cautiously to keep infection rates under control.
Given the Government’s previous statement that there will be no extension to the Job Retention Scheme beyond the end of April 2021, employers are eagerly awaiting news of the Chancellor’s intentions when he gives his budget statement on Wednesday 3rd March 2021 at 12.30pm.
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