UPDATED: The Prime Minister has announced that gyms, shops, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality in England could open from April 12 if strict conditions are met, as outlined in his Covid-19 roadmap.
The four-step plan gives a guide to how we will come out of Covid-19 restrictions and Johnson has stressed that any lifting of restrictions will be based on data, not dates.
Conditions would need to be met at each stage of the plan to put the measures in place:
- 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 pose a risk of a surge in hospital admissions
- New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions
Let’s take a closer look at the plan.
The second step is where we would start to see changes for businesses.
From April 12, we could start to see the opening of certain types of businesses:
- Non-essential retail and personal care businesses like hairdressers
- Outdoor settings like alcohol takeaways, beer gardens, zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas
- Indoor leisure, such as swimming pools and gyms
- Self-contained holiday accommodation, such as self-catering and campsites
Weddings would continue to have up to 15 guests.
Hospitality curfews would also be lifted at this stage, with no need for a substantial meal to accompany alcohol.
An announcement will be made about international travel restrictions on this date at the earliest.
The third step would come into place from May 17 if conditions are met.
The rule of six would be abolished and replaced with a limit of 30 people outside.
- At this stage, cinemas and larger performances and events would be allowed to reopen, though social distancing and capacity limitations would be in place. Up to 10,000 spectators would be able to attend the very largest outdoor seated venues, such as at a football stadium
- Indoor hospitality could open
- Remaining outdoor theatres and cinemas could open
- Hotels, hostels and B&Bs could open at this point
- Up to 30 people would be allowed to attend weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes
Step four would see the easing lockdown and all legal limits on social contact could be lifted from June 21.
- The final sectors left closed would reopen from this date – such as nightclubs
- The government hopes that limits on weddings and funerals will start to be lifted from this date
Tony Danker, director-general of the CBI, which speaks for 190,000 businesses, told the Times that the road map the prime minister laid out yesterday was “a good starting point to the hard yards ahead”, but added, “We need to turn this road map into genuine economic momentum. The budget is the second half of this announcement: extending business support in parallel to restrictions will give firms a bridge to the other side.”
The British Retail Consortium told the newspaper that some of the hardest-hit shops may never reopen. It called on the chancellor to announce “a targeted business rates relief from April and [to] extend the moratorium on debt enforcement, as well as removing state aid caps on Covid business grants”.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the UK Hospitality trade body, said that the sector would have been closed for almost 200 days, barring two weeks of heavily restricted trading in December. “A major package of financial support is imperative if hospitality is to survive,” she said. “The chancellor has just nine days to save thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs.”