Boris Johnson has announced plans to reverse Covid restrictions in a bid to return the country to a more ‘normal‘ way of life.
The restrictions will not be fully lifted until June 21 at the earliest, as the PM revealed a cautious reopening blueprint.
Speaking at a press conference, the PM said: “There is light ahead, leading us to a spring and the summer, which I think will be seasons of hope, looking and feeling incomparably better for us all and from which we will not go back.”
The first phase will be the reopening of schools to all pupils on March 8, followed by hairdressers, gyms, pub gardens and shops on April 12.
We will have to wait until May 17 before we can stay overnight with family and friends —before we reach June 21 which is the date it is hoped that all restrictions will finally be lifted.
Mr Johnson has warned that the UK must learn to live with the virus but insisted that “the end really is in sight” and “a wretched year will soon give way to spring and summer very different to today”.
The cautious four-step plan will see restrictions reviewed every five weeks from March 8, with only partial unlocking in each phase.
Groups of six, or two households, can meet outside from the end of March, but will not be able to meet indoors until May at the earliest.
The PM said that understands the public’s frustration at the slow pace of the plan but insists he will “not take the risk” of a fourth crippling lockdown, adding: “And I sympathise very much with the exhaustion and the stress that people are experiencing and businesses are experiencing… but to them I say the end really is in sight.”
Mr Johnson’s plan also confirmed:
- The Stay at Home order will be lifted across England on March 29
- Travel around the country will not be allowed until mid-April
- Couples can only invite 30 guests to their wedding until June 21, after which there will be no limits on numbers
- Working from home may continue until June
- The possibility of overseas holidays is still in doubt pending a separate review into border issues in April
Leaders in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be announcing their approaches separately.