Boris Johnson has outlined a roadmap which could see all legal restrictions on social distancing and contacts being lifted by June 21.

The PM has told the House of Commons how he plans to reopen the country with plans in place for everything from hair salons to football stadiums and libraries to nightclubs.

It requires four tests on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants to be met at each stage.

Boris told MPs the plan aimed to be ‘cautious but irreversible’ and at every stage decisions would be led by ‘data not dates’.

He told MPs: ‘The end very much is in sight.’

The BBC is reporting that:

As part of the first step of the plan:

  • From 8 March – All schools will open with outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed. Recreation in outdoor public spaces – such as a park – will be allowed between two people, meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic.

  • From 29 March – Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed. It is understood this will include gatherings in private gardens. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children’s sport, such as grassroots football, will also return.

Secondary school pupils will be required to wear face coverings in classrooms and shared spaces like corridors.

The second step comes from 12 April and would see major parts of the economy permitted to reopen:

  • Non-essential retail opens, hairdressers and public buildings like libraries and museums.

  • Outdoor settings like alcohol takeaways, beer gardens, zoos and theme parks.

  • Indoor leisure like swimming pools and gyms.

  • Self-contained holiday accommodation, such as self-catering and camp sites.

But wider social contact rules will continue to apply in all settings – meaning no indoor mixing between different households will be allowed.

Funerals continue with up to 30 people, and weddings with up to 15 guests.

The third step will come from 17 May – if the data allows – and will see the “rule of six” abolished for outdoor gatherings, replaced with a limit of 30 people:

  • Two households can mix indoors – with the rule of six applied in hospitality settings like pubs.

  • Cinemas, hotels, performances and sporting events reopen – though social distancing remains.

  • Up to 10,000 spectators can attend the very largest outdoor seated venues like football stadiums.

Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes.

The fourth step from 21 June will potentially see all legal limits on social contact removed, with the final closed sectors of the economy reopened – such as nightclubs.

The government hopes that – from this date – restrictions on weddings and funerals will also be abolished.

The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:

  • The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan.

  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment.

  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions.

  • New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.

The government is also launching a series of reviews to explore further ways of easing limits.

  • The first review will look at whether having a vaccine or a negative test result can reduce restrictions on social contact.

  • A second review will pilot the impact of testing and reduced social distancing on events. 

  • A third will look at travel. International travel will not resume before 17 May, but a report on 12 April will look at how to facilitate more inbound and outbound travel.

  • A fourth will review social distancing measures, such as the one-metre-plus rule, rules on face coverings and working from home. This will conclude ahead of 21 June.

Manx Response

It is under the PM’s announcement will not directly change anything on the island in the short term but it likely will be factored into the gov’s Covid policies which are under continuous review.