A year on from the first lockdown, the UK is finally looking to ease out of restrictions. On Feb. 22, Boris Johnson announced a four-step roadmap, which would see various lockdown measures lifted, with March 29 being one of the key dates for those living in England.
Elsewhere, the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own roadmaps and plans to move out of restrictions. So, if you’re in need of a clear update as to where things stand in your area of the UK, here’s everything you need to know.
On Feb. 22, the UK government announced a four-step roadmap to ease the lockdown restrictions in England. The first step began on March 8, and will continue from March 29 when the ‘stay at home’ rule is lifted. From March 29 people can meet outdoors with up to six people, including in private gardens. Outdoor sports facilities will reopen, including tennis and basketball courts, as well as open-air swimming pools.
Step two will happen no earlier than April 12, which will include the reopening of non-essential retail and hospitality venues. However, this easing of restrictions will only take place if the roadmap continues to meet the four criteria outlined by the government.
Currently, up to four adults from two households can meet outdoors in Scotland, and adults can take part in outdoor non-contact sport in groups of up to 15 people. Scottish residents will have to wait until April 2 to see a change in restrictions, when the ‘stay at home’ rule is replaced with guidance to stay local.
From April 5, hairdressers, garden centres, and non-essential click-and-collect services will be able to reopen, and more college students will return to campus. Further easing is expected from April 26, which will include the reopening of the retail and hospitality sectors, as well as being able to meet indoors.
On March 22, non-essential retail reopened including garden centres, and restrictions on the sale of certain items in supermarkets were lifted. From March 27, further rules will be eased, which includes the ‘stay local’ requirement, the reopening of limited outdoor areas and libraries, organised outdoor activities and sports for under-18s can resume, as well as the first phased opening of the tourism sector.
Self-contained tourist accommodations, such as caravans and cottages, will be open from Saturday, and while there will be ‘no limit’ on travel within Wales, per BBC News, ‘non-essential travel to and from other UK nations will be banned for at least two weeks.’ The new rules will also allow two households of up to six people to meet outside.
The next review will take place on April 1, which will possibly lead to restrictions on all shops, schools, and close contact services being lifted from April 12.
Dates for relaxing restrictions have not been set in Northern Ireland, as “the course of the pandemic has been highly unpredictable and is likely to be so for some time yet,” the government explains.
However, they have outlined a plan that includes nine pathways, each of which has five steps towards restrictions being lifted. These pathways are:
- Home and community
- Sports and leisure activities
- Education and young people
- Worship and ceremonies
- Culture, heritage, and entertainment
- Travel and tourism
The easing of current restrictions will “require a minimum of three weeks to assess the impact [...] before further decisions are made,” but the first easing of rules will most likely centre around meeting others outside their homes, per BBC News.
This article was originally published on