The Prime Minister has today set out the COVID-19 Roadmap out of the national lockdown, which can be read in full at COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 and is also attached below.
The Roadmap sets out four steps for easing restrictions, which will be at least five weeks apart and announced with one weeks' notice. An assessment on whether it is safe to move onto the next step will be made each time, and will be based on the following four tests:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- The Government's assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
Step 1 of the Roadmap can proceed from 8 March, which means:
Education and Childcare
- Schools and colleges can return to face-to-face education for all children
- Face coverings are recommended in all indoor environments in secondary school settings and above for a limited period
- Also supported by twice-weekly testing for all secondary and college age pupils
- Wraparound childcare, childminders and children's activities can restart where it is needed to enable parents or carers to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group. Vulnerable children can attend these settings regardless of circumstance.
- Under-18 sport can take place at school or as part of wraparound care only
- Practical Higher Education courses at English universities can resume
- Every care home resident in England will be able to nominate a single named visitor who will be allowed to visit regularly, subject to taking a rapid lateral flow test and wearing PPE for the visit
- Outdoor recreation, such as a picnic, is allowed. This can be on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
There will be some further limited changes from 29 March as follows:
No longer legally required to Stay at Home
- Encouraged to continue as much as possible, but no longer a legal requirement to do so
- Able to meet outdoors subject to the Rule of 6 or with one other household (i.e. two households can meet outdoors) subject to social distancing but including in private gardens
- Support bubbles can continue, and will be counted as part of the same household
Outdoor Sports Facilities
- Tennis courts, basketball courts, swimming pools set to reopen
- Formally organised outdoor sports can restart in compliance with guidance issued by national governing bodies
- All children will be able to access any outdoor childcare and supervised activities
Funerals and Weddings
- Funerals remain unchanged with 30 attendees allowed and 6 attendees allowed at wakes
- Weddings can proceed with 6 attendees and are no longer limited to exceptional circumstances