UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will share his finalised road map with ministers later, regarding the lifting of lockdown regulations.
Rules will be lifted in phases and four conditions must be met at each stage.
It is understood that the first phase will be split into two parts:
- Phase one, part one (from 8 March) – All schools expected to open with outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed. Recreation in a public space – such as a park – could be allowed between two people, meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic
- Phase one, part two (from 29 March) – Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households are expected be allowed, including in private gardens. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts could reopen and organised adult and children’s sport, such as grassroots football, could also return
Although schools are set to reopen to all pupils on 8 March, it is thought a few days’ flexibility may be built in to allow measures like testing to be put in place.
From 29 March people will once again be able to travel out of their areas, although guidance will likely still recommend staying local, and overnight stays will not be permitted.
Data will be used to inform “every step” of lifting restrictions, Mr Johnson said.
“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,” he added.
The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:
- The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
- New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions
Downing Street said the four tests are currently being met so the first step of lockdown easing in England will proceed as planned on 8 March.
The first stage of easing restrictions will be across the whole of England, Downing Street added, due to the current uniform spread of the virus.
MPs will be given the chance to vote on the regulations enabling England’s road map in the coming weeks.