BORIS Johnson will give a statement next week on his roadmap to unlocking England following the latest shutdown.
He’s set to reveal a path to getting the country back to normal again – but has promised it will be “cautious” and “irreversible”.
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The PM said last night he doesn’t want to have to go back into lockdown again, and he hopes this one would be the last.
Here’s what we know so far about next week’s announcement.
When will he make the announcement?
The PM is expected to lay out his roadmap on Monday, 22 February.
It is likely to come in the form of a statement in the House of Commons, followed by a press conference or telly address to the nation in the evening.
This is traditionally how many major lockdowns have been announced, and any lifting measures.
What will he say?
At the moment the Government aren’t saying exactly what we will expect next week.
But Boris said yesterday he will include a range of dates for possible openings.
However, he admitted those dates could slip if there was data showing it wasn’t safe.
Will there be a document?
It’s likely that there will be a roadmap out of lockdown, with extra guidance and information published about all the stages.
The Daily Telegraph reported this could be as long as 100 pages.
Ministers are expected to get the data this week which will inform the decisions.
Will he scrap the tiers system?
The PM hasn’t yet made any firm decisions, but has said he is looking again at the tier system.
He’s hinted he may lift restrictions across the whole country at once.
This would mean the tiers system may be scrapped regionally, and instead everyone have the same tier across England.
However, the tiers system may still stay in place, but just apply across the board.
What will open first?
Schools are set to be the first things to reopen – the PM wants them to return from March 8 onwards.
However, it’s not yet clear whether it will be all pupils or they will stagger them.
It may be that some kids in key exam years will go back first, followed by others at a later date.
Will I be allowed to meet friends and family again?
It’s likely that some of the first rules to be relaxed will be those around meeting people outside.
At the moment people are only allowed to exercise with one other person.
They can only see people in their support bubble or go for a walk with one other person.
HOAR revealed this week that the rule of six is likely to come back outside, meaning people will be able to meet with several others as long as they stay apart outside.
It’s also expected that the rules will be relaxed so that Brits will be able to sit on a bench and relax with friends – rather than be ordered to keep on moving as part of the exercise rules.
What about sport?
That’s also near the top of things that could happen first.
Outdoor sport such as tennis, outdoor swimming and golf carries less risk, so it’s probably going to be allowed to restart again in the coming weeks.
Team games such as football and other closer contact games may have to wait a little while longer.
Sports fans could also be sent Covid tests along with their tickets so they can watch major events including the Euros and Wimbledon again this summer.
When will shops open?
Non-essential shops were some of the last things to close in previous lockdowns, so it’s likely they will be in the middle of the road.
They probably won’t be the first things to open, nor the last.
Ministers had previously penciled in for shops to open in April, but this may be moved up thanks to the speedy vaccine rollout.
How about pubs, restaurants and clubs?
Hospitality will be more likely to open later on down the line.
HOAR revealed last week that pubs may be able to open in time for Easter – early April – if all continues to go well.
But people would likely be only able to meet with other households outside, to reduce the transmission risk.
However, it may be that people living together could enjoy a pint in their local indoors in a matter of weeks.
When can I get a haircut?
Ministers have remained tight-lipped about when close contact services might be allowed to open again.
They were given priority to stay open in some top tier areas last year, before the full lockdown came into force.
But it’s likely to be April or May before they will reopen again, leaving Bits with untidy mops for a little longer.
How about getting married and going to gigs?
The future still remains unclear for how the nation will be able to return to bigger events like gigs and weddings.
MPs wrote to the PM this week to demand he set out a clear timetable for when weddings can get back to normal.
At the moment only people who are terminally ill can tie the knot, and ceremonies are limited to just a handful of people.
It’s likely that this summer months will be the earliest time Brits will be able to have a big wedding, but the picture is far from certain.
Yesterday the PM suggested that Brits may be able to get back to nightclubs and theatres with rapid result lateral flow tests.
The same may be used to get people back in stadiums and gigs again in the coming months, but it’s unlikely this will happen until most of the UK adult population is vaccinated – likely late summer or early autumn.