By Ellie-Louise Style
Covid restrictions are set to ease under Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.
Outdoor pubs, hairdressers, non-essential retail and gyms are set to open from Monday 12th of April. However, social distancing and the rule of six between two households still applies.
This does mean that a whole range of places will be able to open their doors for the first time in months, including; beauty and nail salons, spas (but not including steam rooms and saunas), toy shops, vehicle showrooms, betting shops, auction houses, restaurants (outdoor only), theme parks and drive-in cinema’s.
Overnight stays across England are also going to be allowed, but you must be in your support bubble or only with members of the same household. This means that hotels, self-catering accommodation and guesthouses will also be allowed to open to the public.
One factor that is different from the previous easing of lockdown restrictions is that there will be no 10 pm curfew and you will not have to purchase a substantial meal to be able to buy alcohol in a pub or restaurant.
People will still be encouraged to work from home for the time being, and even though there will be no rules on where you can travel to within England there is still an encouragement to minimise your domestic travel when possible. However, for the time being, it remains illegal to go on an international holiday.
Care homes will also be allowed to accept more visitors from the 12th as well, and it will increase to two visitors per resident instead of one. Plus, parent and child groups (indoors and outdoors) will be allowed to start back up, but with a maximum number of 15 people per class. Not only this, but children’s indoor activity classes (including sports) will be able to start back up again.
The rules for funerals and weddings will stay the same with up to 30 people allowed to attend funerals and up to 15 guests for weddings.
Boris Johnson announced last night that a Covid certification system is currently being developed and this “is likely to become a feature of our lives” until the pandemic is over. This implies that the scheme would likely record anyone who has been vaccinated, has natural immunity or has recently tested negative.
However, 40 Conservative MP’s have shown concern about the idea of Covid passports or certificates and have signed a cross-party letter opposing the scheme, as they believe it’s “discriminatory”.
Boris Johnson has warned that “We can’t be complacent. We can see waves of sickness afflicting other countries, and we’ve seen how this story goes.”
Loosening the restrictions is based on the “data, not dates” said Mr Johnson. Four tests have to be passed before any more lockdown rules are allowed to be eased. Firstly, the vaccine programme continues successfully. Secondly, there is evidence that the vaccines are effective in decreasing hospitalisations and deaths. Thirdly, infection rates do not surge and put an unsustainable strain on the NHS. Fourthly, there are no new and threatening variants of the disease.
At least 31 million people have now had their first dose of a covid vaccine, which is nearly half of the entire population in the UK. By the end of July, it is expected that 54 million adults would have been offered the jab.
The next date for potentially more easing of lockdown restrictions is on May 17th, and this would include: indoor hospitality, indoor exercise gyms, bingo halls, cinemas, sports stadiums (Maximum 10,000 fans), saunas and spas all to re-open. However, this depends if the four key tests are met.