England is set to lift its coronavirus restrictions in the coming months as millions more get vaccinated and Covid cases continue to fall.
Boris Johnson is expected to officially reveal his roadmap out of lockdown on Monday, but we already have some idea of what will be announced.
The final details of the Prime Minister’s plan, which will involve three stages, are set to be agreed at a meeting of the ‘Covid O’ committee tomorrow.
So far we know that schools will reopen first, followed by non-essential shops and then pubs and restaurants.
Mr Johnson is expected to chair a Cabinet meeting on Monday before revealing his plan in the Commons that afternoon, followed by a press conference in the evening.
Schools to reopen
The government will fully reopen schools on March 8, although top scientists and union officials have expressed concerns about the move.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty is reportedly ‘very unhappy’ about sending children back to the classroom so soon, while unions slammed the ‘big bang’ approach.
When he announced the lockdown, Mr Johnson said: “I hope we can steadily move out of lockdown, reopening schools after the February half term and starting, cautiously, to move regions down the tiers.”
But it looks like this date will be delayed into March after he added layer upon layer of conditions and doubt to his comments.
Care home residents can hold visitors
Care home residents will also be allowed to hold hands with a regular visitor from March 8, the government has announced.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “pleased” that it would soon be possible for people to be “carefully and safely reunited with loved ones who live in care homes”.
Visitors will be required to take a coronavirus lateral flow test before entry and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn, the Government has announced.
And although the holding of hands is permitted, closer contact such as hugging or kissing is still banned.
The timeline for when other restrictions will be lifted – and businesses are allowed to reopen – is hazy beyond this date.
Golf and tennis to resume
However, newspapers have reported that outdoor leisure activities such as golf, tennis, and even picnics will be allowed in March.
Outdoor meet-ups between two separate households could happen by Easter as a first step toward relaxing gathering rules, according to The Sun and The Telegraph.
Hairdressers may have to wait until the end of April to reopen, the newspapers report.
Shops, hairdressers and pubs to reopen
Downing Street is apparently planning on allowing non-essential shops to open their doors again in April, The Times reports.
Some newspapers claim pubs and restaurants may also be allowed to reopen at some point after Easter, although it seems people will only be allowed to drink outside at first.
However, other reports say the hospitality industry may not reopen until as late as August.
Reports also suggest self-catering holidays within the UK could be allowed by this point – but only with your own household.
Summer holidays allowed
If all adults have had a vaccine by July, then summer holidays become more of a possibility.
But there will still be a ‘red list’ of countries requiring quarantine in hotels when Brits return.
Matt Hancock has suggested that, if vaccines don’t work as well on new variants, this hotel quarantine system could last into the Autumn.