On January 4, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England was entering a third lockdown period.
He ordered the country to stay indoors other than for limited exceptions and bowed to significant pressure to order primary schools, secondaries and colleges to move to remote teaching for the majority of students from Tuesday.
The Prime Minister warned: “the weeks ahead will be the hardest yet but I really do believe that we’re entering the last phase of the struggle, because with every jab that goes into our arms we’re tilting the odds against Covid and in favour of the British people.”
Now the country is on the verge of leaving the third lockdown as the Covid rate of infection plummets and the vaccination rollout lifts off.
Here’s when strict lockdown restrictions could be lifted.
When did the new lockdown period start in England?
The restrictions came into force at midnight on the morning of January 5.
When will lockdown be lifted?
It is hoped that the majority of restrictions will be lifted by June 21.
Mr Johnson announced that pupils in all year groups can go back to the classroom from March 8, with outdoor after-school sports and activities also allowed to restart.
People will be permitted to have socially distanced one-to-one meetings with others outdoors in a public space.
Care home residents will be allowed a single visitor from this date, with visitors required to take a lateral flow test and wear personal protective equipment.
Larger groups will be allowed to gather in parks and gardens from March 29.
The “rule of six” will return, along with new measures allowing two households, totalling no more than six people, to meet.
Outdoor organised sport will also return.
From April 12 at the earliest, shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will be allowed to reopen
Two households, or groups of up to six people, will be allowed to mix indoors and limited crowds will be allowed at sporting events from May 17.
All remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted from June 21, allowing for larger events to go ahead and nightclubs to reopen.”