Pub gardens, hairdressers and non-essential shops have reopened across England, marking the second stage of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
Boris Johnson confirmed that plans for reopening parts of society from 12 April would go ahead after data showed that previous easing of restrictions – including the opening of schools – had not resulted in a major leap in coronavirus cases.
The prime minister unveiled the staged approach to easing lockdown in February – but, while he pencilled in dates for lifting different rules, he said that infection, hospital and death numbers would determine the final decision each time.
Now, he has confirmed the country remains on course to take the next tentative step out of the pandemic.
As of 29 March, the rule of six meant six people were able to meet outdoors, while outdoor group sports and leisure has also been allowed. So what exactly happens next?
No earlier than 12 April: The hospitality industry, including pubs and restaurants, is now allowed to reopen outdoors with the rule of six or new two-household rule in force.
There will be no curfew or restrictions on alcohol only being served with a substantial meal, however customers must be seated.
Non-essential retail, hairdressers, barbers and nail salons, can reopen, as will gyms, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas, public libraries, community centres and self-contained holiday accommodation.
Funerals will be allowed to take place with a maximum of 30 people, while weddings will resume with up to 15 attendees.
No earlier than 17 May: Gatherings of up to 30 people will be permitted outdoors at this point. However, the rule of six and two-household rule will apply indoors as people are allowed to meet inside for the first time in months.
Pubs and restaurants will reopen indoors, as will cinemas, children’s play areas, hotels and B&Bs.
Some large events will be able to take place, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events.
Controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50 per cent or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.
The government will also make a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25 per cent of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.
Up to 30 people will be allowed to attend weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events, including wakes. A broader range of stand-alone life events will also be permitted at this step, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.
No earlier than 21 June: All legal limits on social contact will be lifted from 21 June at the earliest.
Once social-distancing is completely eased, nightclubs should be able to reopen and restrictions on events and live performances, including weddings, will finally being lifted.
What four conditions must be met?
The timetable for lifting restrictions will be subject to four tests at each stage of easing measures, including the success of the vaccination rollout, the effectiveness of the vaccination programme at reducing hospital admissions and deaths, infection rates and the impact of any new coronavirus variants.
The government will also conduct four reviews, including looking at coronavirus status certificates to allow people to prove if they have had a vaccine or negative test result, pilots of large events, international travel, and the withdrawal of social distancing measures and face masks.
Will the vaccine supply reduction affect the easing of lockdown?
The month-long “significant reduction” in the NHS’s weekly coronavirus vaccine supply could slow the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in Cellular Microbiology at the University of Reading, told The Independent the delays could mean many people are “disenfranchised” when England starts opening up again.