The roadmap out of lockdown for England is unveiled
On Monday 22nd February, the UK Government released its COVID-19 four-step plan to ease lockdown in England.
The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29th March but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12th April.
From 12th April, all being well, non-essential shops can re-open, as well as outdoor dining facilities and outdoor attractions. Domestic holidays in self-catering accommodation will be possible, as long as households do not mix. Hairdressers, gyms and indoor swimming pools also re-open!
No earlier than 17th May, indoor attractions and hospitality can re-open – such as museums and galleries, stately homes, theatres and cinemas, as can the rest of domestic travel facilities such as non self-catering accommodation.
Finally, everything left should open up again from 21st June. All steps are subject to delay or revision.
See below for a more detailed summary on the route out of lockdown for businesses and venues in England:-
Step 1 – from 8th March
Businesses permitted to open remain the same as currently allowed.
From 29th March
People can use these venues in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households.
- Outdoor sport facilities: Gyms, swimming pools, sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts), golf courses, including mini golf, water sports venues, climbing walls, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas at riding centres, archery venues.
Step 2 – no earlier than 12th April
At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits- as a single household or bubble indoors; or in a group of six people or two households outdoors (unless an exemption exists).
- Self-contained holiday accommodation in which all facilities (including for sleeping, catering, bathing, and indoor lobbies and corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble can reopen
- Outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in member’s clubs) can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. These venues may allow customers to use toilets located inside. At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”)
- Outdoor attractions can reopen at adventure parks and activities, animal attractions (such as at zoos, safari parks and aquariums), drive in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances, film studios, funfairs and fairgrounds, model villages, museums and galleries, skating rinks, theme parks, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks
- Permitted businesses operating in otherwise closed attractions – such as a gift shop or a takeaway kiosk at a museum may only open where they are a self-contained unit and can be accessed directly from the street.
- Outdoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to complying with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits. This could enable spectators at a grassroots sports match or a village fete, provided people do not mix beyond groups of six people or two households. ‘
- Indoor events that bring people together – even if they do not mix with other households – must not run until Step 3. However, at this point, funerals can continue to proceed with up to 30 attendees. Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
- Non-essential retail will reopen and includes retail travel agents
- Personal care facilities and close contact services can reopen, including hair, beauty and nail salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas), holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy, and reflexology)
- Indoor sports and leisure facilities will reopen including: gyms and leisure centres, sports courts, swimming pools, dance studios and fitness centres, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas, archery venues, climbing wall centres
Step 3 – no earlier than 17th May
At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits – in a group of six people or two households indoors; or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors (unless an exemption exists).
- Remaining holiday accommodation can reopen
- Indoor areas of hospitality venues can reopen. As with outdoors, table service will be required.
- Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions can reopen, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries, adventure playgrounds and activities, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, bingo halls, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, games, recreation and entertainment venues such as escape rooms and laser quest, play areas (including soft play centres and inflatable parks), model villages, snooker and pool halls, trampolining parks, water and aqua parks, indoor visitor attractions at theme parks and film studios, indoor attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions, indoor attractions at botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes, indoor attractions at sculpture parks, indoor attractions at landmarks including observation wheels or viewing platforms, indoor attractions at stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites, conference centres and exhibition halls, including for the purposes of business events (subject to the capacity limits set out below)
- Remaining outdoor entertainment events, such as cinemas, theatres, and other performance events will also be permitted.
- Both outdoor and indoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation can be organised, subject to them complying with COVID-Secure guidance.
- Spectators will be allowed at elite sporting events and performance events. Attendance at these events will be restricted to 50% of capacity up to 1,000 people for indoor events, and 50% of capacity up to 4,000 people for outdoor events. For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers may apply a 25% capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people.
- Large business events will also be able to go ahead, subject to the same capacity requirements as sporting events and performances.
Step 4 – no earlier than 21st June
- The hope at this stage is to reopen remaining settings such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues,
- To lift the restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3. This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures.
- The Government will also look to relax COVID-Secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the reopening of Scotland’s economy – including shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and hairdressers – is expected to start from 26th April – with the country’s stay at home restrictions to be lifted on 5th April, if all goes well.
Four people from two households will be allowed to meet outdoors in Scotland from 15th March.