The Prime Minister has confirmed the government’s four-step ‘roadmap’ route out of the current lockdown restrictions in England.
While case numbers remain relatively high, restrictions will start to be relaxed in four stages and at each step, the Government plan to lift restrictions across the whole of England at the same time.
From 8 March, we can expect the following changes in England:
- Schools and colleges to open for all students and practical higher education courses to resume.
- Recreation or exercise outdoors with your household or one other person will be allowed – (this means you can have a coffee on a bench or a picnic for example) but still, no household mixing indoors or in private gardens at this stage.
- Childcare and children’s supervised activities can resume where necessary.
- Stay at home order to remain in place and working from home where possible still strongly advised
From 29 March, we may also expect further changes to the ‘stay at home’ rule, outdoor gatherings in gardens and outdoor sports facilities.
Cllr Janette Williamson, Leader of Wirral Council, said: “While yesterday’s announcement was a long-awaited boost for the country, it’s clear that Coronavirus is still going to affect our lives for some time.
“These potential changes might be confusing, daunting, or exciting to many – especially after weeks in very strict lockdown restrictions. But while the lifting of restrictions brings with it a sense of relief, it should also bring a sense of personal responsibility.
“Moving too fast out of restrictions could set us all back, we all need to keep doing the right thing so we can move through to step two. The virus is still circulating in our communities and we must all do our bit to manage the risks, to slow the spread and to help Keep Wirral Well.”
According to Central Government, the plans follow several factors including the success of the vaccination programme so far, public support with restrictions to suppress COVID-19 and public compliance with testing, self-isolation and other protective measures.
In terms of shielding, the Government anticipates that it will no longer be necessary beyond the end of March 2021 – but advice and next steps will be confirmed nearer the time to keep clinically extremely vulnerable people safe.
The PM warned that the nation will not progress to the next steps and further easing of restrictions unless four tests are met. In summary, these tests are:
- Vaccination of the public remains on track
- Evidence shows the vaccines are helping reduce hospitalisations and deaths
- Case numbers are not ‘surging’ and putting unsustainable pressure on the NHS
- The Government’s assessment of the risks is not changed by any new variants of concern
Only when the Government is sure that it is safe to move from one step to the next, will the final decision be made and announced.
This is only the start of recovery and not the end of lockdown restrictions. Please take note of the guidance and continue to embrace the protective measures that have got us this far:
- Wash your hands
- Wear a face covering
- Keep your distance from those outside your household or bubble
And for now, please stay home.
A summary of the further steps in the roadmap can be accessed here.