The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England.
The roadmap has a four-stage plan for getting England out of lockdown, including the earliest dates when each of these stages can happen subject to key criteria being achieved.The timings outlined in the roadmap are indicative, and the Government will be led by data, rather than fixed dates.Before taking each step, the Government will review the latest data and will only ease restrictions further if it is safe to do so.The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates in the roadmap are all contingent on the data and subject to change.The roadmap will be underpinned by regulations.The roadmap sets out to ease restrictions, incrementally, over a period of time.Until those points people must continue to follow the rules set out in law.
Step 1a - from 8 March
England is still in a national lockdown.People must stay at home, leaving only where permitted by law, and follow the rules in government national lockdown guidance.
Some of the rules on what people can and cannot do changed on 8 March including, people can spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on their own, with their household or support bubble, or with one other person.This means they can sit down for a drink or picnic.People must continue to maintain social distance from those outside their household.
Businesses permitted to open remain the same as currently allowed.
Step 1b - From 29 March
- Outdoor sport facilities can reopen for groups of up to six people or with members of up to two households: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 12 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 6 people or 2 households outdoors (unless an exemption exists).
- 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 atadventure 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
- 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 6 people or two households.Further government guidance on outdoor events is forthcoming.
- 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 retailcan reopen.
Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May
At this stage the venues must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits - in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors; or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors (unless an exemption exists).
- 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 organisationcan be organised, subject to them 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 (unless another exemption exists).
- 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 eventswill also be able to go ahead, subject to the same capacity requirements as sporting events and performances.
Step 4 - no earlier than 21 June
The intention 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.