BORIS Johnson is due to set out his road map to unlock the Covid-embattled country on February 22.
The PM has said he will prioritise getting kids back to school, but what are the other key dates in the path out of lockdown?
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Over the next month, restrictions could begin to ease across EnglandCredit: AFP or licensors
Boris Johnson will reveal his road map and “phased” route out of lockdown at 7pm, from Downing Street in London, on Monday February 22.
Matt Hancock insisted that, despite the success of the vaccine rollout so far, and the “understandable” urge to return to normal life, the Government’s goal is to take a “cautious but irreversible approach”.
In a series of broadcast interviews on Sunday morning, he said there will be “weeks between the steps” so ministers can “watch carefully” the impact of each relaxation of the restrictions.
The Health Secretary said that one in three adults in the UK has now received a coronavirus vaccine.
Also, the Government is confident it has the supplies to meet its July 31 target and to vaccinate all adults over 50, and higher risk groups, by April 15.
Mr Johnson will today, February 21, chair a meeting of senior ministers, known as the “Covid S” committee, to finalise his road map before it is signed off by the Cabinet on Monday.
Matt Hancock spoke about the coronavirus roadmap to freedomCredit: Sky News
He will then unveil the plans to MPs in the Commons later that afternoon and is expected to lead a Downing Street press conference on Monday evening.
The PM has said he is “optimistic” about announcing the lifting of restrictions.
He recently added: “Our children’s education is our number one priority.
“But then working forward, getting non-essential retail open as well and then, in due course, as and when we can prudently, cautiously, of course we want to be opening hospitality as well.
“I will be trying to set out as much as I possibly can in as much detail as I can, always understanding that we have to be wary of the pattern of disease.
“We don’t want to be forced into any kind of retreat or reverse ferret.”
Boris Johnson will reveal his ‘phased’ route out of lockdown on February 22Credit: PA:Press Association
All kids are expected to be back in class by March 8, and the PM has repeatedly said schools are his “number one priority”.
Schools have been told that they will be given two weeks’ notice.
It isn’t clear yet whether kids in exam years will go back first, followed by other years at a later date.
Care homes residents will be allowed one nominated indoor visitor from March 8, the government has said.
Visitors will be required to take a coronavirus lateral flow test before entry and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn.
Kids still won’t be allowed to hug and kiss granny, but they will be able to hold hands
Residents will be asked not to hug or kiss their relatives, though hand holding will be permitted.
Guidance for care homes is expected to be published in the next fortnight.
Mr Hancock said he was “pleased” that it would soon be possible for people to be “carefully and safely reunited with loved ones who live in care homes”.
The PM has confirmed that no other sectors that are currently closed under restrictions, such as hospitality, will open until after March 8.
But rules on outdoor mixing could be relaxed so that Brits are allowed to meet a friend outside for a coffee or a picnic.
Schools are set to reopen at the earliest March 8Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Early reports suggest retailers will be able to welcome back customers from March – a few weeks after schools reopen.
Current lockdown legislation ends on March 31, meaning new legislation would be needed to extend the tough restrictions.
It is unlikely that all restrictions will have ended by then.
Face masks and social distancing measures are likely to stay in place for the long-term, even when hospitality venues reopen.
Non essential-shops are likely to open after schools, but again we don’t know what will be first or exactly when.
Golf courses are also set to reopen
Ministers had previously pencilled in for shops to open in April, but this may be moved up thanks to the speedy vaccine rollout.
Should cases continue to fall, the PM could give the green light for non-essential retail to open at the end of March.
But it is worth noting that, should a spike in infections occur, the government could well delay the reopening of certain industries – and ministers have stressed that dates are subject to change.
The reopening of golf courses is tipped for the end of March, according to The Times.
Ministers plan to introduce further relaxations on exercise at the end of next month – including outdoor tennis courts and golf courses, which enable people to remain socially distant.
The current lockdown legislation expires on March 31Credit: AFP or licensors
Brits should be able to enjoy drinks alfresco outside from April if cases continue to fall at the current rate.
A government source told The Sun: “We will hopefully be sipping pints in the spring sunshine sooner rather than later.”
It has been reported that the previous 10pm curfew and ‘substantial meal’ rule will not return.
Also, ministers could begin to allow greater mixing outdoors, including outdoor sports, in April.
April 30 and beyond
Health secretary Matt Hancock has set a new target to vaccinate all over 50s by the end of April.
One million over 65s have to be jabbed before then, alongside those with underlying health conditions.
The second jabs for those who have already received their first vaccines will also take place.
There have been no concrete dates on when younger groups will get their jabs, however it is likely that some can expect to be invited for their first dose in the months after the deadline.
It is hoped that, with more of the population immunised, restrictions can be lifted without the risk of another outbreak which would put pressure on the NHS.
Meanwhile, a wider reopening for limited indoor mixing in pubs and restaurants is still planned for May.
In early June, we could see the rule of six for socialising indoors, before returning “broadly back to normal” by early July.
Sports fans could also be sent Covid tests along with their tickets so they can watch major events including the Euros and Wimbledon again this summer.
Good Friday falls on April 2.