In a speech to the Commons today, the Prime Minister set out his roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions.

The government is adopting a cautious and data-driven approach in which four key tests must be met to advance through the steps in the roadmap. These tests are:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • The government’s assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern

To allow time for the data to reflect the impact of the changes made at each step and to give businesses 7 days’ notice of future changes, there will be a minimum of 5 weeks between each step.

Here is a summary of the main points Mr Johnson made and you can read the full transcript here.

Step 1:

From 8 March

  • All pupils in all schools and further education settings will reopen, supported by testing
  • University courses requiring practical teaching, specialist teaching or onsite assessments will return
  • Meet one person from outside your household for recreation in public space
  • Care home residents can nominate a named regular visitor

From 29 March

  • Outdoor gatherings following the rule of six/two households permitted
  • Outdoor sports facilities can reopen including golf, tennis and football
  • No longer legally required to stay at home, but should continue to work from home and minimise travel wherever possible

Step 2:

No earlier than 12 April – subject to 4 tests.

  • Non- essential retail and personal care open
  • Indoor leisure facilities will reopen
  • Holiday lets but only for use by individuals or household groups
  • Outdoor hospitality and takeaway open without curfew
  • Most outdoor settings open, as will public libraries and community centres

Step 3:

No earlier than 17 May – subject to 4 tests

  • Most social contact rules lifted outdoors, subject to a limit of 30
  • Mixing indoors allowed subject to the rule of 6 or 2 households
  • Indoor hospitality to open
  • Performance/sport back with limits

Step 4:

No earlier than 21 June – subject to 4 tests

  • Aim to remove all legal limits on social contact
  • Reopen all remaining closed sectors
  • Restrictions lifted on large events
  • All limits removed on weddings/life events

The PM also announced four crucial reviews:

  1. Assess how long we need to maintain social distancing and face masks. This will also inform guidance on Working From Home.
  2. Resumption of International Travel – report expected by 12 April.
  3. Potential role of Covid status certification
  4. Safe return of major events

In addition, Mr Johnson announced that the support packages would continue to protect jobs and livelihoods, and that the Chancellor would give further details in the Budget next week.

He ended by stressing that the government would remain alert to mutations of the virus, with plans to set out guidance in March on how to respond to local outbreaks and a range of methods to address variants of concern. Mr Johnson did not rule out re-imposing restrictions if the evidence suggested they would be necessary to contain variants that escape the vaccines.