What happens when lockdown eases again from April 12?
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
With households across the country able to meet up outdoors again, all eyes are on the next round of lockdown easing from April 12.
The date is set to mark the entry into Step 2 of Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown, with greater freedoms reintroduced on the path to normality.
Unless a change to plans is announced, the date will mark a return of both the high street and the beer garden – as well as outdoor attractions and indoor leisure.
Families will also be able to go on domestic holidays, while lockdown haircuts will again become a thing of the past.
Social distancing will still be enforced, with most rules on social contact such as inter-household mixing indoors still not allowed.
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What are the changes?
- Non-essential retail, hairdressers and nail salons can reopen alongside libraries and community centres.
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes can serve customers outdoors. Table service rules will remain, although the "substantial meal" requirement for alcohol will not be in effect.
- Theme parks, zoos and other outdoor attractions can reopen, while drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances can also take place.
- Indoor leisure facilities including gyms and swimming pools can open their doors again – but only for use of people on their own or with their household.
- Self-contained accommodation such as holiday lets can reopen so long as indoor facilities are not shared with other households.
- Up to 15 people will be allowed to attend weddings, receptions and wakes. Funerals can continue with up to 30 people.
- All children’s activities, indoor parent and child groups can go ahead with up to 15 parents present.
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Could this be pushed back?
The easing of restrictions could be pushed back, should the government's four-step assessment not be met.
Before any change in regulations, data is examined to ensure that the following criteria is being met:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations, which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- The government's assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of Covid-19 which cause concern.
Should those criteria be met again after April 12, Step 3 changes would be introduced on May 17.