What to expect when Boris Johnson unveils England’s roadmap out of lockdown
English schools are set to reopen on March 8, in the first step of Boris Johnson’s plan to lift its coronavirus lockdown, which the prime minister is set to announce to the House of Commons Monday afternoon. Here’s how the day will play out, and what to expect.
3:30 p.m. GMT: Johnson will lay out his four-step roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown to MPs.
7 p.m.: Johnson will give a press conference in Downing Street in the evening, where he will explain his roadmap to the nation and take questions.
What’s in the plan
Step 1: The first step of the plan, confirmed to London Playbook by Downing Street, is actually made of two steps …
On March 8, schools will reopen and outdoors after-school sports and activities can restart. One-on-one recreation in public spaces such as parks will be permitted, so two people can sit for a coffee, drink or picnic.
From March 29, when the Easter school holidays begin, the government will permit more outdoor social contact. The rule of six will return, meaning six people from up to six households will be able to meet up outside, either in public places or in private gardens. Two households of any size will also be allowed to meet up outside. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis, basketball courts and golf courses will reopen too. Organized adult and children’s sport such as grassroots football can also return. The government is also like to drop its “stay at home” order, according to the Telegraph.
Steps 2-4: A Downing Street official said for steps two, three and four, Johnson will give “no earlier than” dates — i.e. the earliest date at which England can enter the next phase. In order to decide when exactly it can progress, Johnson will use four new tests:
1: The vaccine program is continuing successfully.
2: Data is showing the vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalizations and deaths.
3: Infection rates do not risk putting unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
4: The risk assessment is not changed by new Variants of Concern.
What’s not in the plan
The tier system, which allowed varying restrictions in different regions, won’t be used anymore, as “restrictions will be eased step-by-step across the whole of England at the same time,” according to a Downing Street official.