So here it is, the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown.
For almost a year now, the United Kingdom, like Ireland, has been in a perpetual state of locking down and reopening.
People have grown used to this weird way of life, enjoying the time when society has been allowed to reopen, before begrudgingly trudging back into their caves when – shock, horror – cases once again go up.
There are plenty of parallels between the situation in Ireland and the one our nearest neighbours find themselves in.
For those in the UK, as is the case here, the current extended lockdown, has arguably been the toughest to date.
The UK government’s decision to open areas up before Christmas, meanwhile, – so as to allow festive business to flourish – contributed enormously to the extraordinary rise in cases in the UK that are only now beginning to tail off.
It is perhaps because of this that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants the impending reopening plan in the UK to be the last, or as he put it, “irreversible”.
This is the roadmap for reopening Johnson laid out in the Commons on Monday.
- People still legally required to stay at home
- Schools to reopen in full
- Recreation with household or one other person outside allowed
- 30 people allowed at funerals, 6 allowed at weddings or wakes
- Stay at home order reneged, but people advised to remain local. No holidays allowed
- Meetings of either six people or two households permitted outside
- Outdoor sport and leisure facilities allowed to reopen (tennis courts, golf courses)
- Organised outdoor sport allowed for children and adults
- Outdoor parent and child groups (up to 15 parents) allowed
No earlier than 12 April
- Indoor leisure – including gyms – open for use individually or for household groups
- Rule of six or two households allowed to mix outside, not inside
- Outdoor attractions – zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas – can reopen
- Libraries and community centres reopen
- Barbers, hairdressers and nail salons can reopen
- All retail can reopen
- Outdoor hospitality can reopen
- Domestic overnight stays allowed (household only)
- Minimised travel advised, no international holiday
- Event pilots will begin
No earlier than 17 May
- Indoor entertainment and attractions allowed
- 30 person limit outdoors
- Rule of six or two households indoors allowed
- Domestic stays overnight allowed
- Organised indoor adult sport can resume
- Some large events will begin again, with 1,000 or 50% capacity indoors, and 4,000 or 50% capacity outdoors
- Outdoor seated events allowed 10,000 or 25% of capacity – this includes professional sport
- International travel allowed subject to review
No earlier than 21 June
- No legal limits on social contact
- Nightclubs can reopen
- Larger events return
- No legal limit on all life events, such as weddings, wakes and funerals
All of these steps are contingent, said Johnson, on the UK passing four key tests, and they are as follows:
- That the UK’s vaccine deployment programme continues to be a success
- That evidence shows jabs are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations, deaths and transmissions in vaccinated people
- That the NHS is not put under unsustainable pressure from a surge in infections and hospitalisations
- That the government’s view of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new coronavirus variants