The new four-step plan to ease lockdown could see all legal limits on social contact lifted by 21 June.
As part of the first step of the plan:
- From 8 March - All schools will open with outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed. Recreation in an outdoor public spaces - such as a park - will be allowed between two people, meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic
- From 29 March - Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed. It is understood this will include gatherings in private gardens. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children's sport, such as grassroots football, will also return
The second step comes from 12 April would see major parts of the economy permitted to reopen:
- Non-essential retail opens, hairdressers and public buildings like libraries and museums
- Outdoor settings like alcohol takeaways, beer gardens, zoos and theme parks
- Indoor leisure like swimming pools and gyms
- Self-contained holiday accommodation, such as self-catering and camp sites
The third step will come from 17 May - if the data allows - and will see the "rule of six" abolished for outdoor gatherings, replaced with a limit of 30 people:
- Two households can mix indoors - with the rule of six applied in hospitality settings like pubs
- Cinemas, hotels, performances and sporting events reopen - though social distancing remains
- Up to 10,000 spectators can attend the very largest outdoor seated venues like football stadiums
- Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes.
Step four from 21 June could see all other legal limits on social contact lifted by 21 June.
The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:
- 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 risk a surge in hospital admissions
- New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions