In news exclusive to every news organisation in Britain, Boris will today announce his plans for England exiting lockdown.
Because of the powers of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, his changes will largely only affect England.
March 8 – schools reopening and two people allowed to meet outdoors for a chat.
Recreation in a public space – such as a park – will be allowed between two people, meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic.
March 29 – outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households, probably includes 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.
Mid-April – the earliest pubs and non-essential shops will likely be allowed to open in England.
But there are other factors at play. Firstly the Tory backbenchers are getting restless and some political beasts are stirring back into life calling for a loosen of all restrictions once the over 50s in England have been vaccinated. The concern here is that if a large portion of the population has not been jabbed, it could lead to new variants which the current vaccines won’t be able to stop without tweaking. However, while he still has the support of the increasingly rudderless Labour Party, Boris won’t have to worry too much about a backbench rebellion anyway.
The other key factor is the vaccine roll out. The UK plans to have offered at least the first jab of a Covid vaccine to all adults by July 31. While this still means a five month gradual unravelling of restrictions, this does at least open up the possibility of a British summer holiday for millions, even if travel to Europe is not available.
So where does that leave us? Well with the new cases on the island, we’re living in an interesting state, there are certainly fewer people about and more people are choosing to wear masks, but as of yet we haven’t had any restrictions brought back in. It is also unclear exactly what the UKs plans to step up the vaccine rollout will mean for our own supplies, equally we don’t yet know if the island is going to follow just about every other country and increase the gap between first and second doses beyond the current three weeks.
Boris is expected to address the Commons at 3.30pm and will give a press conference on TV at about 7pm.