This afternoon prime minister Boris Johnson announces lifting of restrictions with non-essential retail due to open in April
The PM addressed the nation this afternoon outlining a four step approach to lifting lockdown. He made it clear that should it be required some of the targets might be delayed if cases and hospital admissions required it. He said that he wanted these actions to be irreversible.
There will be at least five weeks between each step – four weeks to acquire data on its impact, and a week to give people notice of what is happening next.
The steps are as follows:
Schools to reopen on the 8th March. This will be all schools and all years. From 29th March people will be able to meet outside, subject to the rule of six, or provided no more than two households are meeting.
Step 2 From the 12th April. All non-essential retail will open. Pubs and restaurants will begin to open, for outdoors service. There will be no curfew, and no requirement for people to order a substantial meal.
Step three will start no earlier than 17th May. Most restrictions on meeting outdoors will then be lifted. Pubs and restaurants will open for indoor service, he says. Cinemas, play areas, hotels, and theatres will also open. And larger events will be allowed, subject to enhanced testing.
Johnson says step four will start no earlier than 21st June. At that point all limits on social contacts should be lifted. And the PM said large events like weddings should be able to go ahead.
The good news is that non-essential retail will open from the 12th April, though for many this seems far too cautious and damaging for many retailers given that the 12th April is nearly two months away. Equally important, if larger events can take place from the 17th May does this mean that exhibitions can take place? It does appear so on the surface and we will bring you more information when we know more.