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Four steps to end Covid lockdown in England

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April 12  –  This date will see the opening of all shops, hairdressers, libraries and community centres as well as zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas. Campsites and holiday lets will also be allowed to reopen. Bars and restaurants will be able to serve food and drink outdoors, while funerals with up to 30 mourners will be permitted, and weddings, receptions and commemorative events with up to 15 people attending.

May 17  –  This is the earliest date for step three of the lifting of lockdown, which is when most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be removed. However, the exact date will depend on how case numbers across the UK are behaving. If they are rising too quickly, this stage could be delayed.

June 21  –  At this point, the government says it hopes to be in a position to remove all legal restrictions on social contact between people. All remaining business premises, including nightclubs and most large events and performance spaces will reopen, though the exact timing will depend on the results of a scientific events research programme, based on tests at pilot events. These results will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and commemorative events.

By this stage, the UK – if vaccine supplies bounce back in May as has been forecast – should be well on its way to its target of vaccinating every adult in the country. The emergence of new variants of Covid-19 will also be monitored closely and the government has indicated it could introduce a new vaccination programme to protect people against these mutant viruses later in the summer.

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