Covid lockdown roadmap: the key dates for when restrictions will end and what rules will change

This will be as close to normal as possible.

There will be no attendance limits on weddings and funerals.

Big venues that were unable to open last year, such as nightclubs, can finally reopen.

Many of the details for what can happen now is dependent on a number of reviews.

Four reviews

There are four reviews that have been commissioned that sit below the roadmap. They are designed to find answers that right now the Government feels it cannot give.

Each has a ‘complete by now’ date, meaning we know when to expect clarity but not what the review will decide or if it will lead to a change in the rules.

One review is looking at international travel. It will see whether with vaccine certificates and testing the border can be more open than it is now.

This must conclude before step three on May 17 but could report back in April. That means – theoretically at least – the borders could be relaxed in time for summer holidays.

However there is no guarantee the current rules, which bar anyone from travelling overseas for holiday, will be lifted after the review, meaning summer holidays abroad are not guaranteed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a press conference on Mar 23 that he hopes to be able to detail more on foreign travel by April 5.

He said: “All I can say is it’s just too early to say and my advice is to everybody to wait for the global travel task force to report.

“We’ve heard already that there are other European countries where the disease is now rising so things certainly look difficult for the time being but we will be able to say more we hope in a few days’ time, I certainly hope to say more by April 5.”

New regulations that will be voted on in an upcoming review of coronavirus restrictions include a provision to ban leaving the United Kingdom “without a reasonable excuse”, meaning those leaving the UK without a valid reason could face a £5,000 fine.

Exemptions include work, volunteering, studying, elite sports, legal obligations, medical reasons, care and assistance to vulnerable person, wedding of a close family member – but not going on holiday. Matt Hancock confirmed in an interview with Sky News on Mar 23 that this policy will come into force in the week of Mar 28, should it be voted through the Commons.

However, a scientist advising the Government has warned that the prospect of foreign holidays this summer looks “extremely unlikely”. Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Spi-M modelling group, said there was a danger travellers could bring back new variants of the coronavirus – like that which emerged in South Africa – which are less susceptible to vaccines.

“I think we are running a real risk if we do start to have lots of people going overseas in July and August because of the potential for bringing more of these new variants back into the country”, he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Mar 20.

“What is really dangerous is if we jeopardise our vaccination campaign by having these variants where the vaccines don’t work as effectively spreading more rapidly.”

People seeking to leave Britain currently need to show a permit proving they are travelling for essential reasons in a move to stop Easter holidays. The crackdown ­– enforced by on-the-spot fines and the threat of criminal action – came as holiday destinations including Cyprus, Seychelles, Greece and the Spanish islands rushed to open to vaccinated Britons.

A second review will look at social distancing measures. These include the keeping of two metres apart outside (or ‘one metre-plus’ inside), wearing face masks and being encouraged to work from home.

That review is due to report back before stage four, which is Jun 17. In other words, do not expect to be told to go back to work in an office until the summer at the earliest.

A third review will look at Covid vaccine certificates being used domestically. This is interesting as Government ministers had previously played down that possibility.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that Michael Gove has tasked in leading a review into the use of ‘vaccine passports’, in which the “deep and complex issues” surrounding the introduction of immunity certificates will be examined.

It is understood that the Government remains concerned about the implications of such steps and will weigh moral and ethical implications of any moves like this. It will report back by step four, which is Jun 17.

The fourth review will look at large events. It will attempt to work out when it is safe for large events to be held again. It too will report back by step four, so Jun 17.

Pilots for big outdoor events will be allowed to take place from April.

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