At every stage, our decisions will be led by data not dates. That means any decisions about moving from step to step will be subjected to four tests.
- First, that the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully;
- Second, that evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths;
- Third, that infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS;
- And fourth, that our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of Covid that cause concern.
Before taking each step we will review the data against these tests and because it takes at least four weeks for the data to reflect the impact of relaxations in restrictions and we want to give the country a week’s notice before each change - there will be at least five weeks between each step.
Step One of the Roadmap: Schools and Socialising
Socialising Rules from the 29th of March
From the 29th of March, people will no longer be legally required to stay at home but many lockdown restrictions will remain.
The Rule of Six will return outdoors, including in private gardens and outdoor meetings of two households will also be permitted on the same basis, so that families in different circumstances can meet. Outdoor sports facilities – such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools – will be able to reopen and formally organised outdoor sports will resume, subject to guidance.
People should however continue to work from home where they can and minimise all travel wherever possible.
Step Two of the Roadmap: Reopening non-essential retail
Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12 April, will see the opening of non-essential retail, personal care premises, and public buildings, including libraries and community centres.
Some Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen, as will most outdoor attractions such as outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday-lets, but only for use by individuals or household groups.
We will also see the start of reopening for our pubs and restaurants outdoors. And there will be no requirement for alcohol to be accompanied by a substantial meal.
Step Three of the Roadmap: Reopening Indoor Pubs & Restaurants
Step three will begin no earlier than 17 May. Most restrictions on meetings outdoors will be lifted, subject to a limit of thirty. And this is the point when you will be able to see your friends and family indoors - subject to the Rule of Six or the meeting of two households.
We will also reopen pubs and restaurants indoors along with cinemas and children’s play areas, hotels, hostels, and B&Bs. Theatres and concert halls will open their doors, and the turnstiles of our sports stadia will once again rotate subject in all cases to capacity limits depending on the size of the venue. And we will pilot larger events using enhanced testing, with the ambition of further easing of restrictions in the next step.
Step Four: Large Events and Nightclubs
Step 4 will begin no earlier than 21 June. With appropriate mitigations, we will aim to remove all legal limits on social contact, and on weddings and other life events.
We will re-open everything up to and including nightclubs, and enable large events such as theatre performances above the limits of step 3, potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection.
Our Journey Back to Normality: Four Key Reviews along the journey
The journey back towards normality will be subject to resolving a number of key questions and to do this we will conduct four reviews.
One will assess how long we need to maintain social distancing and face masks.
This will also inform guidance on working from home – which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete. And it will be critical in determining how Parliament can safely return in a way that I know Hon Members would wish.
A second review will consider the resumption of international travel which is vital for many businesses which have been hardest hit including retail, hospitality, tourism and aviation. A successor to the Global Travel Taskforce will report by 12 April so that people can plan for the summer.
The third review will consider the potential role of Covid-status certification in helping venues to open safely but mindful of the many concerns surrounding exclusion, discrimination and privacy.
And the fourth review will look at the safe return of major events.
As we proceed through these steps we will benefit from the combined protection of our vaccines and the continued expansion of rapid testing. The Government will extend the provision of free test kits for workplaces until the end of June and families, small businesses and the self-employed can collect those tests from local testing sites.
The Prime Minister’s roadmap has set out a course for a cautious easing of national restrictions, which will ensure we do not undo the incredible progress we have made so far. Together we will cautiously move out of lockdown, so we do not risk the sacrifices each and every one of us has made to keep each other safe as we slowly return to our normal way of life.