SOME ministers are “hopeful” Brits could be back in the pub as early as March as the country moves back down the Tiers.
Boris Johnson’s plans to unlock the country are expected to see a phased return to normality throughout the spring – but he’s refused to put any firm dates on it yet.
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HOAR revealed earlier this week that the PM is cautiously planning a slow return down the Tiers once enough Brits have been vaccinated as officials plan how to unlock the country.
He hopes that by Easter Brits will be able to meet up with friends and families – but it may have to be outside and socially distanced still.
It is understood current thinking would first see kids go back to the classrooms but other stay at home restrictions kept in place – similar to November’s shutdown.
Then Mr Johnson is adamant to keep his tier system but it’s likely that most of the country would automatically go back into Tier 4 first – the highest level of restrictions with pubs and shops still shut – to begin with.
Slowly areas may be allowed back into Tiers 3 and 2 that allow more activities and households to meet up outside, with no single “big bang moment” of unlocking.
Households are able to meet up outside in Tier 2 giving hope for Easter to get togethers in some form.
Although they must order substantial meals in order to be served alcohol.
Today the Spectator report some optimistic ministers say it could mean a return to meeting up outside boozers if parts of the country get put back into Tier 2 by March.
But others are more cautious and say it will be April before rules can be relaxed that far.
Speaking today, Boris Johnson said: “We’ve got that February 15 for all of the most vulnerable people to be offered a vaccination slot, we’ll look then at how we’re doing.”
His comments came with a note of caution, that lifting lockdown would be difficult with the new variant.
“What we’re seeing in the ONS data, in the REACT survey, we’re seeing the contagiousness of the new variant. There is no doubt it does spread very fast. The numbers are very great,” he said.
‘5 million vaccinated’
It comes as Matt Hancock announced today more than 5 million doses of the vaccine had been given to 4.6 million people, boosting hopes a release from lockdowns could be on the cards next month.
And 200 vaccines are being given to Brits every minute, Mr Hancock told the House of Commons.
Addressing MPs remotely while in self-isolate, the Health Secretary said: “This virus is a lethal threat to us all and, as we respond through this huge endeavour (to vaccinate), let’s all take comfort in the fact we’re giving 200 vaccinations every minute.”
He also revealed 63 per cent of care home residents have been given a jab and there was hopeful news that the vaccines can deal with the new variants of the virus.