Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, ahead of his address to the nation tonight, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined his four-step plan for ‘cautiously’ lifting England’s Covid restrictions.
The earliest non-essential shops could reopen in England is 12 April. This key date forms part of the second stage of lockdown easing, which also applies to hairdressers, outdoor hospitality, indoor leisure centres and gyms.
The first step comes next month, with the return of school pupils on 8 March. By the final, fourth step – potentially from 21 June, people could see all legal limits on social contact removed.
The PM stressed that each step was dependent on the impact of its predecessor and subject to strict conditions being met based on vaccinations numbers, vaccine effectiveness, rates of infections, and new variants. Ultimately, the reopening will, Downing Street said, be ‘guided at all stages by data, rather than dates’.