At last, there is a roadmap out of lockdown with defined segments. The incredible efficiency of the vaccination roll-out is creating a population that is protected from infection and this means that life can begin to return to normalcy.
PM Boris Johnson was keen to stress that
“We will be guided by the data and the progress that is made. It is crusial that the process is cautious and irriversible.”
So, assuming the numbers of infections and fatalities continues to fall as predicted then the following six-step process can unfold.
When: March 8
Step One: Back to School and visits to care home
Education is taking precedence and all students in England can go back to school.
The elderly in care homes will be able to have a visit from a relative. Just one visitor per patient as long as they are wearing PPE and have a negative coronavirus test.
Socialising one on one outside will be allowed.
When – March 29
Step two – Rule of six – Back together for Easter
Rule of Six will be resurrected, allowing six people from up to six households to socialise. You will also be able to drive out of your local area to see family and friends. Distance is no object.
It will also be fine to play golf, or else real sports outdoors.
When: April 12
Step three: Hospitality begins to open up.
April will herald in the opening up of hospitality operating outdoors. So that means enjoying food and drink beer gardens and rooftop dining will be possible. Non-essential retail can finally reopen and this includes hairdressers and public buildings.
It may even be possible to staycate in Wales. Welsh First Minister has indicated that the tourism industry may be open in time for Easter, though this will not be the case in England under current plans.
When: May 17
Step four: Restaurants and hairdressers
By May it’s hoped that restaurants will be open once again and serving indoors, while you can finally get a legal haircut again.
When: June 21
Step five: Summer holidays in the UK
June is earmarked as the month when staycations should return. Matt Hancock has a holiday in Cornwall planned, so perhaps that’s a sure sign. All legal limits on social contact in England could also be lifted, but this will be confirmed nearer the date.
Step six: Travel reopens
Assuming everyone is vaccinated July could well be the month when the doors to international travel will be flung open.