Earlier this week the Prime Minister laid out the roadmap out of lockdown. As we transition out of lockdown and allow businesses to reopen it is important that we don’t forget that the dangers are still there and we must act cautiously in these final stages, so we don’t have to return to any more restrictions.
The coronavirus has had a massive impact on all our lives and has left many businesses struggling. The government took difficult decision to save lives and prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed. But, we have done all we can to support businesses, jobs, families and vulnerable people. The furlough scheme was a massive success and helped save thousands of jobs across the UK, including here in South Derbyshire. Many businesses have been in touch with me through this pandemic, explaining what a lifeline the furlough scheme and the grants have been.
But as we move to the next steps, our best way of defeating this virus for good is with the vaccines that is being rolled out. Over 18.6 million people have now had the vaccine, which is a massive achievement. Public Health England has found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has reduced hospitalisations and deaths by at least 75% and the AstraZeneca vaccines efficiency is having promising results.
With these promising results, the reduction in cases and deaths we can now look towards the next steps.
From the 8th of March:
- Children and students will return to face to face education in schools and colleges.
- Wraparound childcare and other supervised children’s activities can resume where they enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group
- Care home residents will be allowed one regular visitor provided they are tested and wear PPE
- The Stay at Home requirement will remain, but people can leave home for recreation outdoors such as a coffee or picnic with their household or support bubble, or with one person outside their household
- Some university students on practical courses will be able to return to face to face learning
From the 29th of March:
- Outdoors gatherings of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed, this includes private gardens.
- Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, will be allowed to reopen, and people can take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
- At this point, the Stay at Home order will end, although many lockdown restrictions will remain. For example, you should continue to work from home where possible, and overseas travel remains banned, aside for a small number of reasons
No earlier than the 12th April:
- Non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, will reopen.
- Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances will also be permitted.
- Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen - but only for use by people on their own or with their household.
- Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only. There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and no curfew - although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.
- Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
- Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (from 6).
No earlier than 17 May:
- Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
- Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen.. Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - although we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.
- Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.
- Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).
- In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
- Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. Other life events that will be permitted include bar mitzvahs and christenings.
No earlier than 21 June:
- It is hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed.
- We hope to reopen nightclubs, and lift restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3.
- This will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.