The current coronavirus lockdown has been in place for more than a month now.
And although the Prime Minister has warned it’s “still early days,” there are some signs that restrictions could be loosened in the coming months.
While hospitals are still struggling and cases are still dangerously high, infections have dropped significantly over the past month.
It is said the Government is considering a three-phase approach to lifting lockdown, so there are several key dates to keep an eye on.
The following dates listed below are the ones which have been mentioned by the government so far:
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February 15 is when the first review of the current lockdown restrictions is due to take place.
When the England-wide lockdown was announced last month, Boris Johnson pledged to offer the coronavirus vaccine to the most vulnerable people in the country: all over-70s, care home residents and staff, health workers and people shielding – a total of around 15 million people.
England’s coronavirus quarantine scheme for travellers coming into the country is also set to come into effect on this date.
The Prime Minister has said he hopes to announce details of a ‘road map’ out of the current coronavirus lockdown on February 22.
On Friday, Mr Johnson reiterated his promise to announce a “steady programme for beginning to unlock” on February 22, but warned it was “still early days” and urged the public to continue following lockdown rules.
Speaking in a video posted on Twitter, he said the announcement would “set out the beginnings of our road map for a way forward for the whole country as the vaccine programme intensifies and, as more and more people acquire immunity, a steady programme for beginning to unlock.”
The ‘road map’ is likely to contain key dates of when the government hopes to lift restrictions.
Find the latest coronavirus cases in your area:
Under the current plans, children will return to the classroom on March 8.
It was initially hoped that schools would be able to open back up in February, but the PM pushed the date back last month.
In a speech to the House of Commons, he said: “If we achieve our target of vaccinating everyone in the four most vulnerable groups with their first dose by February 14 and every passing day sees more progress towards that goal, then those groups that have developed immunity from the virus about three weeks later, that is by March 8.
“We hope it will therefore be safe to begin the reopening of schools from Monday, March 8, with other economic and social restrictions being removed then or thereafter, as and when the data permits.”
The current lockdown legislation expires on March 31.
This means that if lockdown isn’t eased by this point, then further legislation will be needed to keep restrictions in place.
Boris Johnson has previously said the date of March 31 was put in place to allow for a “controlled” easing of restrictions.
April and May
The Government may allow pubs and restaurants to reopen after Easter in April as long as they agree not to sell alcohol, according to reports.
Some reports have suggested that a temporary “booze ban” could be put in place to prevent pubs from selling alcohol immediately after re-opening.
But a senior government source was dismissive of the idea, telling PA: “We are not going to open pubs that can’t sell booze. What would be the point of that?”
The Sun said that ministers are preparing to allow pubs to serve takeaway pints in April before fully reopening in May.
Restrictions such as the 10pm curfew and “substantial meal” requirement will be scrapped as part of a “simplification” of rules to ease confusion, the paper suggested.
The Times also reported that non-essential shops were being pencilled in for reopening in April by Downing Street.
Currently, only essential shops such as supermarkets and chemists are allowed to be open.
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