Last week, Boris Johnson announced that England can safely move into phase two of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown from today, 1 June. But what does this mean, and what other changes can we expect in the coming weeks and months?
On Sunday 10 May, Boris Johnson announced the government’s “cautious roadmap” to ease us out of lockdown, and declared that it was safe enough for England to move into phase one of the plan that following week. This meant people were allowed to meet up with one person from another household (while maintaining social distancing), leave their house and exercise outside as many times a day as they wished, and sit in parks and beauty spots. Those who were unable to work from home were also encouraged to return to their jobs.
Then last week, Johnson announced that it was now safe enough to move into phase two of the plan. This has come into effect from today, Monday 1 June, and it sees more restrictions being lifted across England.
So what has changed in England? And what can we expect to change again in the next phase of the government’s roadmap? Here, Stylist unpicks the new rules.
Please note: the easing of any restrictions is dependent on it being safe to do so, and the roadmap is under constant review by the government. Restrictions for vulnerable people currently shielding from coronavirus are not being lifted at this time.
Lockdown exit phase two for England – “smart controls”
In phase two, the government is easing the social restrictions of lockdown with “smarter measures”. The aim is for these to have “the largest effect on controlling the epidemic but the lowest health, economic and social costs”.
The new measures will be announced in steps in the coming weeks and months. Restrictions could also come back into force if they become necessary to slow the spread of the virus once again.
From today, 1 June
People in England are now able to meet up with five other people from up to five other households at a time, as long as they remain outside or in private gardens, and maintain social distancing measures. This means someone could host a BBQ for five others in their garden, as long as guests remain outdoors and only go into the house as a means of entering the garden.
Overnight stays are still not permitted, while outdoor gyms and leisure centres will remain closed.
As long as they have appropriate safety measures in place, the following can also now open in England:
- Nurseries and schools (reception, year 1 and year 6)
- Outdoor markets and car showrooms
- Ikea opened 19 stores across England and Northern Ireland today
- Dental practices
From 15 June
If it remains safe to do so, the following changes could be implemented from 15 June:
- Non-essential retailers could reopen, with social distancing measures in place. John Lewis is expected to open 13 branches initially from 15 June, while Next is expected to open 25 of its shops
- Secondary schools could provide students in years 10 and 12 with some contact
From 4 July
If it remains safe to do so, other businesses in England, such as pubs, hairdressers and cinemas could reopen.
What restrictions are being eased in Scotland, Wales and Ireland?
People in England have been able to meet with one person from another household since 13 May. A similar easing of restrictions is now in place in Scotland, where people can meet with one other household as long as they stay outside and maintain social distancing. People in Wales are able to do the same from today, Monday 1 June.
The Irish authorities have a five-stage plan to ease out of lockdown. Ireland entered the first stage on 18 May, with garden centres reopening and some people returning to work. The reopening of pubs forms part of the final stage, currently expected to begin on 10 August.
In Northern Ireland, retail parks are expected to open on 8 June, while small outdoor weddings with up to 10 guests could be given the green light to go ahead.
Lockdown exit phase three for England – reliable treatment
The third phase of the roadmap will set out the long-term measures that need to be implemented to keep the virus “manageable”.
The roadmap states that it is “very unlikely” that Covid-19 will be completely eradicated from the UK and the rest of the world. It also states that a vaccine for the virus may never be found: “It is possible a safe and effective vaccine will not be developed for a long time (or even ever), so while maximising the chances this will happen quickly where the government can, it must not rely on this course of action happening.”
However, drug treatments that could reduce the effects of the virus might be possible.
More research is needed in order to reach this third stage of the roadmap.
This piece was originally published 29 May 2020 and has been updated throughout
Images: Getty, Unsplash