Covid-19: Schools to re-open on 8th March & Friends to meet again outdoors as UK plans to leave Lockdown

Coronavirus Update Police Hour

Covid-19 school closures are due to come to an end on March 8th as the UK Lockdown is eased.

The PM’s roadmap our of lockdown will see after-school sports to resume with friends being able to meet outdoors.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

Today I’ll be setting out a roadmap to bring us out of lockdown cautiously. Our priority has always been getting children back into school which we know is crucial for their education as well as their mental and physical wellbeing, and we will also be prioritising ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely.

Our decisions will be made on the latest data at every step, and we will be cautious about this approach so that we do not undo the progress we have achieved so far and the sacrifices each and every one of you has made to keep yourself and others safe.

We have therefore set four key tests which must be met before we can move through each step of the plan.

All schools will re-open in England on 8th March. Under plans to be announced tomorrow in a national TV address.

And on the same date, outdoor recreation with one other person will also be permitted, meaning people will be allowed to sit together in a park with a coffee, drink or picnic.

From 29 March, larger groups will be able to meet outside – including in private gardens – up to a maximum of six people or two households.

Tennis courts, golf courses and other outdoor sport facilities will also reopen on 29 March, which is the first Monday of most schools’ Easter holidays.

At the same time, organised adults and children’s sport, including grassroots football, will restart.

What are the four tests to ease Lockdown in England?

The roadmap outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, the government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous easements. This assessment will be based on four tests which are that:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  • Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

The four tests are currently being met so the first step will proceed from 8 March, at which point the top four priority cohorts for vaccinations – as determined by the independent JCVI – will have received a degree of immunity, three weeks after being offered their first dose.

Due to the current, relatively uniform spread of the virus across the country, restrictions will be eased step-by-step across the whole of England at the same time.

The roadmap seeks to balance between social and economic impacts, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country.

Outdoor settings are known to be lower risk than indoor, so outdoor activities will be opened earlier than indoor ones.

MPs will have an opportunity to vote on the regulations that will enable this roadmap in Parliament in the coming weeks.

The Government will continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations as we have throughout the pandemic.

Who are setting out approaches for easing for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.