A four-stage plan could see England’s coronavirus restrictions finally lifted by June 21, Boris Johnson has announced.
In the first phase, all pupils in England’s schools are expected to return to class from March 8.
Socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person will also be permitted from that date.
A further easing of restrictions will take place on March 29 when the school Easter holidays begin – with larger groups of up to six people or two households allowed to gather in parks and gardens.
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Other measures in the road map set out by the Prime Minister include:
– From April 12 at the earliest: shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will reopen.
– From May 17 at the earliest, two households or groups of up to six people will be allowed to mix indoors and limited crowds will be allowed at sporting events.
– From June 21 at the earliest, all remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted, larger events can go ahead and nightclubs could finally reopen.
Making a statement in the Commons, the Prime Minister said: “The threat remains substantial with the numbers in hospital only now beginning to fall below the peak of the first wave in April.
“But we are able to take these steps because of the resolve of the British people and the extraordinary success of our NHS in vaccinating more than 17.5 million people across the UK.”
He added that “no vaccine can ever be 100% effective”, telling MPs: “So, as the modelling released by Sage today shows, we cannot escape the fact that lifting lockdown will result in more cases, more hospitalisations and sadly more deaths.