‘Three-step-plan’ suggests the earliest pubs, bars and restaurants will reopen is in May.
The Prime Minister announced yesterday (January 27) that England’s schools wouldn’t open until March 8 at the earliest, effectively prolonging the lockdown until then. A ‘three-step-plan’ detailing a ‘gradual and phased’ approach to easing lockdown restrictions is now being discussed by ministers. Schools are currently set to open in March, which could be followed by non-essential shops in April, and pubs, bars and restaurants in May, a source told The Telegraph.
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It is worth noting that this plan is completely dependent on the success of the NHS mass vaccine rollout and Covid infection rates. The national lockdown began on January 4 and was initially forecast to end in mid-February, however due to the spread of new coronavirus mutations and the increasing death rate, the safest option is to continue in lockdown until March. A review is therefore scheduled for February 22 to evaluate the lockdown end date and reassess the ‘three-step-plan’.
The government is now aiming to vaccinate 15 million people in the top four priority groups by February 15, including everyone over 70, NHS and care home staff, and the clinically vulnerable. With any luck, the infection rates will begin to decrease and lockdown will end as scheduled.
Boris Johnson said “If we achieve our target of vaccinating everyone in the four most vulnerable groups with their first dose by February 15…then those groups will have developed immunity from the virus about three weeks later. That is by March 8. We hope it will therefore be safe to begin reopening schools from Monday, March 8, with other economic and social restrictions being removed then or thereafter.”
Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be a while until we can grab a pint at our local…