First published in the Saddleworth Independent
BRITAIN’S way out of lockdown has been spelled out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
And non-essential businesses, including hairdressers and beauty salons, should reopen on April 12.
People may also meet one person from another household outdoors from March 8.
If all goes well, all social distancing measures will be removed on June 21.
The first stage of exiting the national restrictions will see all schools and colleges return on March 8.
Pupils and students will be back in the classrooms from that date, with those at secondary school and colleges being tested twice a week.
Breakfast and after school clubs and activities will also restart in the first stage, with each of the four being imposed at least five weeks apart from each other.
As well as schools, people can meet one other person from outside their household for ‘outdoor recreation’ – things like having a coffee together.
March 29 will see tennis courts, basketball courts and open swimming pools reopen while organised sport can restart, subject to guidance.
Step two, on April 12, will see non-essential retail open while gyms can also open their doors again and pubs can open outside.
Step three, on May 17, will see pubs and restaurants reopen indoors, along with cinemas, theatres, hotels and bed and breakfasts, but the rule of six will apply.
And as Mr Johnson said: “Turnstiles of sports stadia will once again rotate, subject to capacity limits.”
Step four, on June 21, should see the removal of all social contact limits, with large events able to happen and nightclubs reopening.
All dates could be moved back if there is a further spike in Covid-19 infection rates.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Johnson said: “The threat remains substantial but we’re able to take these steps because of the resolve of the British public.
“But we cannot escape the fact that lifting lockdown will result in more cases, more hospitalisations and more deaths. This would happen whenever lockdown is lifted.
“There’s no credible route to a zero Covid Britain or a zero Covid world.
“But the end really is in sight.”
Mr Johnson also assured small business owners by adding: “We will not pull the rug out. The Government will continue to do whatever it takes.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer believes this latest plan must be the only way out of lockdown.
He said: “We can’t afford to make mistakes again. This has to be the last lockdown.”