PM – ‘There Is No Credible Route To A Zero COVID Future’ But Plans For UK To Be Open By Summer

By Rachael Grealish

From March 29 people will ‘no longer be legally required to stay at home’ the Prime Minister has confirmed.

Speaking from the House of Commons today, Monday February 22, Boris Johnson has laid out his roadmap for the UK leaving lockdown, seemingly with hopes for the UK to reopen by summer time.

Setting out the four-step roadmap the PM explained these measures are for England but the devolved administrations have similar plans.

He said the vaccines seem to be effective against the dominant strains of the virus, but added: “It is inevitable that lifting restrictions will lead to more hospital cases and more deaths. There is no credible route to a zero Covid future.”

Overall, all limits on social contact should be lifted by June 21, at the earliest – alongside the reopening of nightclubs, many of which have been closed since March last year.

It was already confirmed schools would reopen on March 8 and pupils will be supported with twice weekly COVID-19 tests.

Johnson said: “Students on university courses requiring practical teaching specialist facilities on site assessments will also return.

“But all others will need to continue learning online, and we will review the options for when they can return by the end of the Easter holidays.”

Non-essential retail will be able to open as early as April 12 – this includes outdoor hospitality such as pubs, but indoor hospitality will not be opening earlier than May 17.

Boris Johnson’s four stage roadmap out of lockdown:

  • Step 1 (part one) – March 8

All schools and colleges will reopen, as well as after school clubs- One plus one recreation will be allowed; for example, people will be permitted to meet one other person from outside their household to socialise- Stay at home order will remain.

  • Step 1 (part two) – March 27, at the earliest

Rule of six to return for outdoor meetings, including private gardens as will two household rule. – Outdoor sports facilities to reopen- Stay at home order to end

  • Step 2 – No earlier than April 12

Non-essential retail and personal care such as hairdressers to reopen- Public buildings such as museums and libraries will return.

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will reopen- Outdoor hospitality will reopen but customers must be seated.

No requirement for a substantial meal to purchase alcohol and no curfews on opening times- Self-contained holidays within the UK to be allowed.

  • Step 3 – May 17 at the earliest

Most restrictions on outdoor socialising to be removed; no more rule of six.

Gatherings of more than 30 will still be illegal.

Indoor mixing to be allowed with rule of six or two households.

Indoor hospitality can reopen with same restrictions.

Sporting events can resume with spectators, though there will be restrictions.

Weddings will be allowed with up to 30 people.

  • Step 4 – No sooner than June 21

All limits on social contact, such as rule of six, to be removed for both indoor and outdoor settings.

Rest of society to reopen, such as nightclubs and other businesses which did not reopen following first lockdown.