You Could Be Able to Hug Friends And Family From 17 May
People in England could be allowed to hug friends and family once again from 17 May.
Boris Johnson outlined a four-step 'roadmap' out of lockdown in the House of Commons earlier today (22 February), the first phase of which will begin with the reopening of schools on 8 March.
By Step 3 - which could begin on 17 May - the government has promised to review social distancing measures.
The roadmap reads: "As soon as possible, and no later than Step 3, the Government will update its advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging.
"Until then, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble, and keep up habits such as regular hand washing and letting in fresh air."
By the fourth and final step - which will begin no earlier than 21 June - there will be no legal limits on social contact, enabling nightclubs to reopen and large events to go ahead.
Johnson said: "With appropriate mitigations, we will aim to remove all legal limits on social contact, and on weddings and other life events.
"We will re-open everything up to and including nightclubs, and enable large events such as theatre performances above the limits of Step 3, potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection."
Before that though, the country will work through the preceding steps over the following months.
As well as schools reopening on 8 March, people will also be able to meet outdoors recreationally with one person from another household.
From 29 March, the rule of six will apply outdoors between two households and outdoor sports will return.
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Step Two will commence from 12 April at the earliest, at which point outdoor hospitality, gyms, libraries, all retail, and outdoor attractions can reopen.
Step Three will begin no earlier than 17 May and will allow groups of up to 30 to meet outdoors, cinemas to reopen and organised indoor sport to recommence. International travel will also be allowed.
Before proceeding to each stage, data will be assessed to determine whether the following four conditions are being met:
- The vaccine deployment programme is continuing successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- The assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants
Currently, the government has determined that these conditions are being met, enabling the country to move to the first stage of lockdown easing on 8 March.
The government has also said that due to the 'relatively uniform spread of the virus', restrictions will be eased at the same time across the country, rather than on a regional basis.
You can view the full roadmap here.
Featured Image Credit: Pexels/Jonas Mohamadi
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