Earlier the Prime Minister set out his roadmap for relaxing the lockdown restrictions. He set out his plan to relax restrictions carefully and gradually whilst it continues to be safe to do so. He established the earliest dates from when, all being well, it will be possible to relax restrictions.

The first two steps will allow all schools to reopen and children’s activities to recommence from 8th March, when social meet ups between 2 people in a public outdoor public space will also be allowed. From 29th March, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households should be allowed, whilst outdoor sports also will be allowed to recommence.

The plan, subject to it being safe, is that non-essential shops, gyms, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality to be allowed to reopen in mid-April, subject to the rule of six. The plan is to open indoor hospitality in mid-May and relax nearly all legal limits to social contact in June, whilst relaxing the rules on events, sporting events, concerts and indoor entertainment.

The full plan can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/…/publicat…/covid-19-response-spring-2021

The last year has been incredibly difficult for everyone. We have all had to make huge sacrifices and these are now paying off. Our vaccination programme is progressing faster than any other country in Europe. Combined with the restrictions, this is now starting to make a clear difference and should allow us to reopen sooner than would otherwise be possible.

Although it is as important as ever that we all continue to follow the rules, I hope that the announcement today gives people confidence that there is real reason for optimism. By sticking to the rules, we will be able to meet our family and loved ones and go back to doing the things we all love and enjoy before too long.