The four steps out of lockdown

As the roadmap continues to offer a route back to a more normal life, it is essential to continue following safety guidance.
Greenwich Maritime Museum view from the hill

On Monday 22 February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement to the House of Commons on the roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England.

Below is a summary of how restrictions across England will be eased, and when:

Step 1

Changes on 8 March:

  • All school pupils and college students will return fully
  • People can meet one other person outside, not just for exercise
  • Care home residents can receive one regular, named visitor
  • No household mixing indoors
  • The guideline to stay home will remain

Changes on 29 March:

  • Outdoor gatherings of up to six people, or two households, are allowed (in parks and private gardens)
  • Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, will re-open and people can take part in formally organised outdoor sports
  • The official order to stay home ends, but people will be encouraged to stay local and to work from home where possible
  • Overseas travel will remain banned, except for a small number of reasons

Step 2

Monday 12 April:

  • Non-essential retail, personal care businesses (such as hairdressers and nail salons), public buildings (such as libraries and community centres) will re-open
  • Most outdoor attractions (such as zoos and theme parks) will re-open, but social contact rules will apply to prevent indoor mixing between households
  • Indoor leisure facilities (such as gyms and pools) will also re-open for use by people on their own or with their household
  • Hospitality venues (such as restaurants and pubs) can serve seated customers outdoors, and there will be no need to order a substantial meal when buying alcohol
  • Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, can open for one household
  • Funerals can have up to 30 attendees and weddings, receptions and wakes can have up to 15

This is where we are now

Step 3

Monday 17 May:

  • Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted – though gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal
  • Outdoor performances can re-open
  • Indoors, the rule of six or two households will apply – though this is subject to review
  • Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues (such as cinemas), the rest of the accommodation sector (such as hotels) and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will reopen
  • Larger performances and sporting events in indoor and outdoor venues will be allowed, with strict capacity limits
  • Up to 30 people will be able to go to weddings, receptions and wakes, and other events such as bar mitzvahs and christenings will be allowed

Further easing of restrictions before Step 4

Not before 21 June 2021

The government has announced a 4-week pause at Step 3. Step 3 restrictions remain in place, and you should follow the guidance on this page, which explains what you can and cannot do.

It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after 2 weeks in case the risks have reduced. The government will continue to monitor the data and the move to Step 4 will be confirmed one week in advance.

However, some restrictions will change on 21 June. From 21 June, there will be changes to the rules on:

  • weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and wedding receptions or civil partnership celebrations
  • commemorative events following a death such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering
  • large events pilots
  • care home visits
  • domestic residential visits for children

Step four

Not before 19 July:

  • It’s hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed
  • Nightclubs may be reopened, and restrictions on large events and performances may be lifted
  • Limits may be removed on numbers allowed at weddings and other life events

All steps are subject to our continued efforts to stop the virus from spreading. In the meantime, the vaccination programme continues at pace, with the announcement of a new target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to every adult by the end of July.

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