Schools and businesses have been shut in England since January 4 when it was placed under its third lockdown period.
Boris Johnson announced the reintroduction of strict rules on January 4, stating that they were necessary to protect the NHS which risked becoming overwhelmed by a surge in cases following the emergence of a new highly-infectious Covid strain.
The prime minister said “now more than ever, we must pull together”, adding: “I know how tough this is, I know how frustrated you are, I know that you have had more than enough of government guidance about defeating this virus.”
When will lockdown restrictions be reviewed?
Lockdown restrictions were introduced for an initial period of seven weeks.
When introduced it was announced that they would be reviewed during the week commencing February 15.
When will lockdown exit strategy be revealed?
A lockdown exit roadmap is to be published in the week commencing February 22.
It is thought that an exit out of lockdown will be phased rather than an immediate lifting of all restrictions.
Speaking on February 3 Boris Johnson said: “On February the 22nd, we will be setting out in as much detail as we can about where we see the dates, what the timetable could be, the earliest dates by which we want to do what - you remember what we did last year - setting out a route map, we’ll do that again.”
What could lockdown exit strategy look like?
Ministers have said the re-opening of schools in England on March 8 remains their first priority, although reports have suggested the return may be staggered, with secondary schools going back a week later.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that they were confident they could “start the process” of schools re-opening on that date.
After schools, it is expected the next areas of easing will be non-essential shops and the rules on outdoor recreation and socialising.
The hospitality sector and the CRG meanwhile are pressing for pubs and restaurants to re-open in time for the Easter weekend at the beginning of April.
What are England’s lockdown rules?
Everyone was told to “stay at home” from Tuesday 5 January, only leaving the house for the following reasons and exemptions:
- Going to work, or providing voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot work from home. This includes key workers and people who work in construction
- Shopping for food or medicine for yourself or a vulnerable person
- Providing care or help for a vulnerable person
- For medical care, or to avoid injury, illness or risk of harm, including domestic abuse
- Meeting your support or childcare bubble if you have legally formed one
- Education or childcare, if eligible
- Activities related to moving house
- Outdoor socialising (only with people from your household or bubble) and exercise (see below).
Schools and colleges were ordered to immediately, including primary schools and secondary schools, with pupils learning remotely via online services.
All non-essential retail, hospitality, entertainment and personal care services - like hairdressers and salons – were also ordered to close.