The roadmap for lifting lockdown

February 23, 2021


Yesterday the Government announced its four stage roadmap for easing Coronavirus restrictions in England.

The first stage of easing is planned for March and further lifting of the lockdown may mean that all restrictions on social contact are removed by the end of June 2021.

However, progress will require four tests on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants to be met at each stage.

The Government has indicated that decisions on easing restrictions will be ‘led by data rather than dates’ and may be subject to change. It has stressed that people need to abide by the rules in order for restrictions to progress from one stage to the next.

What are the four stages and what do they mean for me?

Stage one – Earliest, 8th March 2021

  • All schools and colleges will reopen
  • University students can return for practical courses
  • Two people from different households can meet outside for recreation, which can include “a coffee on a bench”.
  • One nominated person can visit a relative in a care home

Stage one (part 2) – Earliest, 29th March 2021

  • People will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the “rule of six”, including in private gardens
  • The stay-at-home rule will end but people should stay local as much as possible
  • Outdoor sport facilities will reopen and formally organised outdoor sports can restart

Stage twoNo earlier than 12th April 2021

  • Non-essential retail allowed to open, as well as hairdressers and other “close contact services”
  • Gyms, spas and swimming pools can reopen for individuals and households
  • UK domestic holidays away from home permitted, with self-contained accommodation able to reopen for use by members of the same household
  • Outdoor settings such as Zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas, as well as beer gardens and alcohol takeaways can re-open
  • Libraries and community centres can open

Stage three No earlier than 17th May 2021

  • People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors, including outdoor theatres and cinemas
  • Six people or two households can meet indoors
  • Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors
  • Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas can open, as can adult indoor group sports and exercise classes.
  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen to household groups
  • International leisure travel will resume no earlier than 17 May

Stage fourNo earlier than 21st June 2021

  • All legal limits on social contact will be removed
  • No legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events.
  • Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen

How is progress from stage-to-stage decided?

Four conditions must be met at each stage before moving on to the next one:

  1. The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
  2. Vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
  3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
  4. New coronavirus variants do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions

More information


For full details of the easing associated with each stage please go to the government’s plan here.

Further Government information on COVID-19 restrictions and precautions are regularly updated here.

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