BORIS Johnson has drawn up a four-step plan to lead Britain out of Covid lockdown — and insists the whole country will be moving along together.
The PM has ditched the hated regional tiers and will tomorrow unveil a “stairway” back towards a normal life.
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By March schools will reopen in phases, you will be allowed to meet a pal in the park and grandparents can hug their kidsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Around April outdoor sports will resume, non-essential shopswill reopen and 2 households can meet
He will reveal dates to pencil in diaries for the return of much-missed activities before all restrictions are lifted in a final leap.
Civil servants were working on the presentation in the Cabinet Office last night.
The success of the jabs programme — and predictions all over-18s will be offered one by July’s end — has given the PM confidence to unlock slightly faster than first expected.
It came as a poll for The Sun on Sunday found some 81 per cent rated the country’s jabs programme a success.
In a boost for millions, the PM will say that outdoor sport will resume from the end of March.
Team games including football, rugby and hockey will be allowed.
‘BELIEVE IN VACCINES’
He will also raise hopes of fans being back into grounds in time for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, now starting in June.
Step One may be the trickiest as militant teachers are threatening to wreck plans for all schools to reopen on March 8.
The PM may have to settle for getting primary age children back to classes first and hope for a phased return of senior pupils.
It will be followed by an end to restrictions on close family interaction, with grandparents allowed to cuddle grandkids again.
Care home residents will be able to hold hands with visitors within a few weeks
Tory MP Graham Brady, who chairs the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, said he was urging the PM to “believe in vaccines” and free up care homes.
By May pubs, restaurants, gyms and salons will open with rules and self-catering holidays will be permitted in the UKCredit: Press Association
In June households will be able to mix indoors, a limited number of fans will be allowed in grounds and holidays will resume in the UKCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The success of the jabs programme means the country will unlock faster than expectedCredit: PA:Press Association
He said the isolating of vulnerable elderly people from loved ones had been “one of the most tragic aspects of the last year”.
Mr Johnson is keen to turn his steps into strides before summer — or sooner. Decisions will be dependent on the continued fall in death and infection rates.
A Whitehall source said: “There will be four steps, possibly five, each with dates and details about what businesses can reopen and which activities will be allowed.”
A senior government source added: “There will be no more tiers. We’ll be taking these steps as one nation.
“No region will be left behind this time. We’re in this together and shall leave together.”
Our poll found people are willing to carry a vaccine passport to show they’ve had a jab if it means pubs and restaurants can open sooner.
‘SUMMER WILL BE TOO LATE’
Some 62 per cent would be happy to do so in all circumstances. Only 15 per cent were totally opposed, the poll for The Sun on Sunday found.
It is feared, however, that the roadmap will have too many speed restrictions for thousands of pubs, cafes and restaurants.
Mr Johnson looks set to delay full reopening until May. Bosses fear partial reopening — with outdoor seating — will not save them.
One in five only have enough cash to make it to the end of March. About a million hospitality workers on furlough are most at risk of the axe if the reopening comes too late.
Kate Nicholls, of UK Hospitality, said: “We need to be in the first phase of re-opening. Summer will be too late for many businesses.”
Seasonal workers will be waiting anxiously as up to 200,000 jobs are created ahead of Easter in caravan parks, hotels and holiday camps.
MPs are divided on when to lift lockdown. Covid “doves” fear the PM could be hit at the May 6 local elections if he opens up too soon.
But an anti-lockdown “hawk” said opening pubs and eateries before the election would “give us all a boost and be a vote winner”.
Our poll revealed a three-way split on lockdown lifting, with a third thinking the PM has the balance right and equal numbers believing he has been either too cautious or too impatient.
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