Reports from UK today says Prime Minister Boris Johnson give details of his plan to open up the country after the lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Johnson will address the nation at 3.30pm today. He is expected to announce the plan in the House of Commons.
According to a report in the UK Mirror, while all schools in England look set to open to all year groups from March 8, there has been heated debate about the wider reopening of society – including non-essential shops, pubs, gyms and hairdressers.
Rules for outdoor exercise are also expected to be relaxed on March 8 – with non-contact sports such as tennis and golf to follow three weeks later.
By Easter – April 4 – family and friends could be allowed to mix, outdoor gatherings will be limited to either six people or two households, whichever is larger.
Mr Johnson’s “roadmap” will include four tests which must all be met before the next step can go ahead.
The plan will be rolled out across the country at the same time with no return to regional tiers.
Here’s Boris Johnson’s Roadmap:
Pubs and restaurants
Pubs could open in April, although this is expected to be for outside and takeaway drinks only – possibly around April 12.
The PM is also expected to scrap the 10pm curfew and ‘substantial meal’ rule that was enforced last year.
In May, pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues could open fully, with customers limited to meeting one other household or obeying the rule of six outdoors.
Non-essential shops could also open their doors in April – although it is unclear if this would be later in the month or in mid month, as with takeaway booze from pubs.
Shops deemed non-essential were forced to close their doors in early January when England’s third national lockdown came into force.
High streets and shopping centres across the country have been left deserted, but when non-essential shops do reopen, shopping is likely to remain subject to social distancing measures.
The wearing of masks is also expected to be a continued and mandatory requirement.
For those struggling with unruly hair – the indications so far for England are not good.
It may be that salons and hairdressers stay closed until May.
Their reopening is likely to come under stage three of the government’s four stage approach to easing lockdown.
Hairdressers, barbers and salons opened last summer after the country’s first lockdown came to an end.
The mandatory wearing of face coverings was introduced for all customers and staff and is likely to continue this summer.
It is also likely some services at salons will not be offered – such as lash and eyebrow treatments where contact between two people is deemed too close.
Gyms are expected to be open by May, although there has been speculation the end of April could see people hitting the treadmills once again.
Last year, gyms and leisure centres were among the last businesses to reopen.
However, there have been calls to treat their reopening as more of a priority this time over concerns about a growing mental health crisis as people’s well-being suffers.
Gym-goers were advised to respect social distancing when they reopened last year, but were not expected to wear face masks.
It has been speculated life could be “broadly back to normal” by July – while social distancing and the wearing of masks may continue well throughout the year and into next winter.
The reopening will be dependent on four tests – the vaccine rollout is going to plan, it is reducing hospitalisations and deaths, infection rates are not risking a surge in serious cases, and a new variant hasn’t moved the goalposts.
But if all goes to plan, the rules mean families who have not seen each other since before Christmas will be able to meet for a picnic in time for Easter.
Today’s announcement comes after the PM pledged to vaccinate all UK adults by July.
The PM’s new deadline to vaccinate all over-18s is months ahead of the original autumn target.
He also promised that all over-50s plus those with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk would have been invited by April 15 – two weeks ahead of schedule.
“The scientists have indicated that some social distancing will continue and we don’t know whether the vaccination will change that,” he said.
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