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Boris Johnson has detailed his "one-way" roadmap out of lockdown – with the country gradually heading back to normality.
In a statement to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon, the Prime Minister laid out the details of what will happen in the UK as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wane.
Along with the third national series of restrictions, the rapid vaccine rollout has helped lower infection and death rates — although Mr Johnson warned there is "no credible route to a zero-Covid Britain nor indeed a zero-Covid world".
As a result, the Government has drawn up a slow easing of the measures, with "at least five weeks" between each step as data is continually reviewed.
Here's a guide to the "cautious" lifting of restrictions in England, although the Prime Minister says the dates could be subject to change depending on what the data around infections says.
March 8 – Step 1, Part 1
- All students will return to schools and colleges, and wraparound childcare – such as after school clubs and school sports – can resume
- Recreation with a maximum of two people from different households meeting in a public space will be allowed
- Care home residents will be allowed one regular named visitor
- England's Stay at Home order will remain in place
March 29 – Step 1, Part 2
- Outdoor gatherings of either six people or a larger group from up to two households will be allowed, including meetings in private gardens
- This will be timed with school Easter holidays
- Outdoor sports facilities – tennis and basketball courts – can reopen and both kids and adults will be able to take part in "formally organised" outdoor sports
- England's Stay at Home order will end at this point and will move to messaging encouraging people to stay local wherever they can
- People will still be asked to work from home wherever possible and there won't be any overseas travel allowed apart from exemptions
April 12 (at the earliest) – Step 2
- Non-essential shops will reopen
- Personal care premises – such as hairdressers and nail salons – can also reopen
- Public buildings – such as libraries and museums – can reopen
- Most outdoor attractions and settings also reopen including hospitality, zoos and theme parks
- Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings, with no indoor mixing between households
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May 17 ( at the earliest) – Step 3
- More limits on social contact will be eased while outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted
- Two household/rule of 6 requirements will go at that point, but gatherings of over 30 people in a park/garden etc will remain outlawed
- Indoor mixing will be allowed again. The rule of 6 or a larger group from up to 2 households can meet indoors – but this will be kept under review to see if safe to go further
- Indoor seating in pubs and restaurants will open at this point along with entertainment such as cinemas, children's play areas, accommodation and indoor adult sports groups and exercise classes
- If meeting friends in pub, the rule of 6 or 2 households applies – but those restrictions don't apply if you're in the beer garden
- Larger performances and sporting events in indoor events with capacity of 1,000 or half full (whichever smaller) will be allowed
- Outdoors, capacity of 4,000 people allowed, or half full, again whichever is smaller
- Largest outdoor seated venues e.g. biggest football stadiums, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend – or a quarter full, whichever is lower
- Up to 30 people able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes as well as funerals and other life events permitted
June 21 (at the earliest) – Step 4
- It's hoped all the legal limits on social contact can be removed at this point and premises such as night clubs will reopen
- Restrictions on large events and performances that applied in previous step will also be lifted, it is hoped
- At this point the Government will make a decision on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events
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Lawmakers will have a chance to vote on Johnson's plan in parliament.
Authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, are also expected to ease restrictions in the coming months.
This weekend, the Prime Minister said that all adults in the UK will be offered a coronavirus jab by the end of July.
Britain moved faster than many Western countries to secure vaccine supplies and has been inoculating people rapidly since December.
Some 17.6 million people have now received a first dose, behind only Israel and the United Arab Emirates in vaccines per head of population.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also said the UK had recently succeeded in driving down cases of the more infectious South African variant.
Overall daily coronavirus cases hovered around 11,000 a day last week, compared with a high of over 80,000 in late December.
- Boris Johnson
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