Roadmap ‘to regain our freedom’

The Prime Minster has unveiled his roadmap for England to move out of lockdown, we have the details here; back to the SU on the 21st June??

Boris Johnson has given a speech to the House of Commons in which he has laid out the stages that we will go through as we move out of lockdown. He has described the process as “cautious but irreversible”.

The roadmap contains four stages, with stage one split into two parts. It will all be national, for now, with no plans at this stage for regional tiers. Stage one, part one, begins on 8th March with the re-opening of all schools, which will also be allowed to resume sports for pupils. Schools may be allowed to stagger their return to allow them to test all pupils before classes begin. Care homes will also allow a single, designated visitor from 8th March.

Students on uni course that require practical teaching, in-person assessment or specialist facilities will be allowed back from the 8th.

Outdoor social meetings between two people will also be legalised on the 8th.

Part two is pencilled in for 29th March, with the return of outdoor gatherings, including in gardens, and the group of six rule. Two households will also be allowed to meet up outdoors, with no cap on numbers. Outdoor sports will also return, including organised sports such as football. The “stay at home” messaging would end, although working from home is still expected to be encouraged. It is worth noting that this 29th March date is the earliest that such easing is likely to take place, this will be conditional on the continued success of the vaccine program as well as falling hospital numbers.

The government has made a clear decision to move very cautiously with this unlocking; the idea being that we will be moving in only one direction from now on, towards more freedom. Boris struck a cautious note, pointing out the still very high level of Covid patients in hospitals.

Further easing of restriction will take place gradually at five-week intervals.

From stage 2 (form the 15th April) outdoor pub gardens and other outdoor dining will start to return, as will gyms for use by restricted groups.

Stage 3 (from the 17th May) will see the return of cinema, live sports crowds, more extensive indoor mixing etc.

Stage 4 (from the 21st June) will see the re-opening of night clubs and (most importantly) the Loughborough Students’ Union (even just for four days before the end of term)!

These dates are conditional on periodic reviews.

Boris also confirmed that government support for the economy will continue until the country no-longer requires this.

Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, welcomed the PM’s roadmap and offered Labour support to the government; but also advised the PM against caving to pressure from some Tory backbenchers to speed up the easing of restrictions.