A ROADMAP outlining when restrictions will be eased in the West Midlands, Warwickshire and the rest of the UK has been announced by the Prime Minister this afternoon.
The first steps of a four-part plan to unlock the country will see schools reopening and families reunited.
On March 8, children will go back to the classroom, with outdoor sports allowed, and people will be allowed to meet one friend or family member in an outdoor space.
It means they will be able to meet for a picnic or a coffee for the first time in over two months.
Also on March 8, new rules will allow care home residents to have one regular visitor.
The next significant date in diary is March 29, when outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be permitted.
This date will also see the return of outdoor sports – including grassroots football, tennis courts, golf courses and outdoor swimming pools being reopened.
Assuming Covid-19 hospital admissions remain low – a key part in every step of the unlocking the country – non-essential shops, including hairdressers, nail salons will reopen as early as April 12.
Self catering holiday accommodation and campsites will reopen, 30 people will be permitted at funerals and 15 will be able to attend weddings.
Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will also be able to open from April 12, along with outdoor hospitality such as zoos and theme parks.
Pubs and restaurants will also be allowed to serve food and drink to people in groups of six outside.
People will no longer need to purchase ‘a substantial meal’ alongside their alcoholic drinks.
On May 17, most social contact rules will be lifted, as well as limited mixing indoors.
And from June 21, all legal limits on social contact will be lifted.
Speaking on the vaccine in the House of Commons, PM Boris Johnson said: “No vaccine can ever be 100 per cent effective.
“We cannot escape the fact that lifting lockdown will result in more cases, hospital admissions and sadly more deaths.
“This will happen whenever lockdown is lifted, whether it is now or in nine months’ time.”There will always be some vulnerable people who are not protected by the vaccines.
“We cannot have a zero-covid world.”
The PM added that the roadmap will be ‘cautious’ but also ‘irreversible’.
If everything goes to plan, all restrictions will be lifted on June 21.
The tier system has been scrapped and everything will be lifted across England at the same time.
Around 17.5million people have received their first Covid-19 jabs.
The government hopes to give every adult a vaccine by the end of July.
The four conditions that must be met for lockdown to continue to be eased are:
– The vaccine programme continues successfully
– Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying
– Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
– New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions