English schools will reopen from March 8, non-essential stores could open from April 12 while all restrictions could be lifted by mid-June, Boris Johnson told parliament on Monday, as he described the government’s four-step approach to easing lockdown measures.
Speaking to Members of the House of Commons, Johnson said early data suggested the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine and BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine had been effective against dominant strains of the virus.
Lifting the lockdown will lead to more infections, hospitalizations and more deaths, Johnson said, saying there was no credible road to a “zero Covid Britain” or a “zero Covid world” .
In the first phase of lifting the restrictions from March 8, students will resume face-to-face teaching in schools, with twice-weekly mass testing to be introduced at educational institutions.
From March 29, the public will be encouraged to stay local rather than at home. During this time, up to two households or six people will be able to socialize in outdoor environments, including private gardens and parks.
In the second phase, which will take effect no earlier than April 12, non-essential retail and personal care businesses such as hairdressers and nail salons will reopen. Libraries and museums will also reopen alongside swimming pools and gymnasiums.
Hospitality establishments will be allowed to serve customers outdoors, such as in outdoor breweries, and the public will be required to adhere to the two-household mix limit or the rule of six.
The third phase, which could come into effect from May 17, will involve the lifting of certain rules for social contact outside, however, gatherings of more than 30 people will be illegal. During this time, up to two households or six people will be allowed to congregate inside.
Indoor hospitality will reopen alongside entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas, while indoor exercise classes and sports groups can resume.
In the final phase, which will start no earlier than June 21, the government hopes to remove all existing restrictions and reopen other sectors of the economy, including nightclubs and live entertainment.