From the reopening of the stadiums to the concerts until the end of the social distancing scheduled for next June. Boris Johnson offered his “road-map” to get out “irreversibly” and “forever”, albeit “with caution”, from the latest lockdown now in force since January 3 across the United Kingdom and return to normal.
The British Prime Minister will present his plan before the Parliament today. This is an important moment, not just for the UK, because for the first time there is a clear plan for a Western country to exit, more or less definitively, from the nightmare of the coronavirus pandemic, once the vaccination campaign has reached a high rate as the British one. 17.5 million vaccine doses are already in the UK and the entire adult population is expected to be vaccinated by July.
This is the four five-week phases until 21 June. When, if all goes well and if there are no resistant and dangerous mutations of the virus, even social distancing and masks will perhaps become just a memory in the United Kingdom.
PHASE ONE – FROM 8 TO 29 MARCH 2021
On 8 March all schools will reopen, but all workers will still have the obligation to “stay at home” as much as possible. British people will be able to see a person outside the family in the open air even to have a picnic, have a coffee or a drink together sitting in the park, unlike today for which only a walk together or physical exercise is allowed. Patients in nursing homes will be able to receive a visit from one person. From 29 March, it will be possible to meet five other people from other families or more, but in this case only belonging to a maximum of two families such as tennis or golf. And, importantly, the indication to “stay at home” will end, replaced by “stay local”, do not leave your area of residence. Travels abroad are still banned.
PHASE TWO – FROM APRIL 12th
All non-essential shops will reopen, including hairdressers, bookstores, museums, libraries, zoos, parks, gyms, and swimming pools. Pubs and restaurants reopen but only for outdoor and table service, and here too only the “rule of 6” will be valid, or more, but only if they belong to two families. There will be no curfew to close the premises and bars of any kind. Hotels will be able to resume hosting residents but only if they belong to the same family unit. Funerals are allowed with a maximum of 30 participants, weddings will go from 6 to 15 participants.
PHASE THREE – FROM MAY 17th
The rule of 6 or two families that can be seen outside together also falls, there will be no limits, apart from not exceeding groups of thirty people. The rule of six will however apply to meetings at home or in another closed space. Cinemas, hotels, and B & Bs will reopen for everyone as well as sporting and cultural events to the public with these rules, a theatre or concert hall cannot accommodate more than 2,000 people (or 50% of maximum capacity), while stadiums will not more than 10 thousand people (or at most a quarter of their total capacity). Different families will be able to take vacations together. The maximum number of wedding participants rises to thirty. International travel may be allowed.
LAST PHASE – FROM JUNE 21st
Here even the measures of social distancing should fall in almost all circumstances and therefore also in the pub or restaurant. Discos should reopen, concerts even indoors without limits and large public events, although the advice will always be to work from home and to wear masks at least indoors. In any case, the London government will analyze the contagion data of the first four weeks for each phase and at the fifth, it will decide whether to respect the schedule or delay the next phase. If there is a new dangerous strain of virus or other similar emergencies, local lockdowns will be taken. However, there remains a doubt: will vaccination passports be provided? The Johnson government hides behind “it is an ethical question that we will carefully evaluate”, but the feeling is that the “freedom” that could be reacquired next June passes precisely through the certification of having had a vaccine, in addition to rapid sweeping tests for all participants of all public events.