Boris Johnson expected to outline 'road map' for lifting lockdown next week

Boris Johnson is expected to set out the plan for lifting the UK’s third coronavirus lockdown next week.
Prime Minister Boris JohnsonPrime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister is due to set out his ‘road map’ next Monday, February 22.

Mr Johnson has said he will set out dates “if we possibly can”, explaining they will likely be target dates “by which we hope to do something at the earliest”.

What will reopen first?

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Ministers have said the re-opening of schools in England on March 8 remains their first priority, although reports have suggested the return may be staggered, with secondary schools going back a week later.

Mr Johnson said no decisions had been made on whether year groups across schools in England will return together or whether primaries and secondaries could be staggered.

Professor Neil Ferguson, who advises the Government as part of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said modelling suggests “there probably is leeway to reopen all schools” from March 8 but acknowledged there will be “slightly more of a risk” than if just primary schools were reopened.

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How is the rest of the road map looking?

After schools, it is expected the next areas of easing will be non-essential shops and the rules on outdoor recreation and socialising.

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Media reports have suggested various reopening dates for hospitality, with optimistic suggestions varying from Easter weekend to May, with the caveat that the initial reopening may be for outdoors rather than indoors.

What is the hospitality industry saying?

Kate Nicholls, chief executive for UKHospitality, has called for a “very clear phased exit strategy from the lockdown”.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, she said they need “not just that initial date but the phasing out of those restrictions linked to the rollout of the vaccine”.

She added that there would need to be more support for businesses if restrictions continue.

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Dr Bharat Pankhania, senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter medical school, said talking about pubs reopening in April is “premature” and pub bosses need to realise there is a danger of going “back to square one”.

What about holidays?

Ministers are looking at plans for people who live in the same household to be allowed to go on breaks together from April, the Times newspaper reported.

The Save Future Travel Coalition, made up of 12 leading travel trade organisations, has said it is vital that the Government works with the industry to develop a road map to reopen travel.

The industry argues that a risk-based approach to travel, including a co-ordinated approach to vaccine certificates and use of passenger testing will be critical in opening up the overseas travel market.

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Last week Downing Street said the Government is doing “everything we can to make sure people can have a holiday this summer” but ministers have repeatedly cautioned it is too early to be certain about what people will be able to do.

When will we be able to see family again?

This is still unclear, but the Daily Telegraph reported plans are being considered that would allow grandparents to see grandchildren outdoors as early as next month.

The Daily Mail reported the rule of six could return for outdoor gatherings, allowing people to meet in groups for walks or picnics in the park.

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