On 22nd February parliament returned from recess to announce its ‘gradual and phased’ route out of lockdown.
Boris Johnson has now laid out his roadmap for easing out of the current restrictions. Rules are set to be lifted in 4 stages and at each stage certain conditions must be met. It’s likely to be 5 weeks between each stage of restrictions being eased. The conditions are; the vaccine programme going to plan, evidence that the vaccines are reducing the number of virus related deaths or people requiring hospital treatment, infection rates don’t risk a surge in hospital admissions and there being no risk of lifting restrictions due to new variants of the virus.
So, what’s the plan? Here are the main dates we should know:
All year groups return to schools (secondary school children will be required to wear face coverings in classrooms and corridors). Outdoor afterschool sports and activities allowed. 2 people can meet outdoors in public spaces e.g meeting for coffee/picnic.
Up to 6 people or 2 households allowed to meet outside, including private gardens. Outdoor facilities such as tennis courts will reopen. Organised adult and children organised sports permitted eg football clubs.
Non-essential shops and public buildings including hairdressers, libraries and museums to open. Outdoor settings such as zoos, theme parks and beer gardens to open. Gyms and swimming pools to open. Self contained holiday accommodation such as campsites and self catering lets to open. End of hospitality curfews. Funerals can continue with up to 30 guests and weddings up to 15 guests. Wider social contact rules still to apply; no indoor mixing between households.
Rule of 6 to end for outdoor gatherings - up to 30 people permitted. Rule of 6 applies for indoor settings including pubs and restaurants. 2 households able to meet indoors. Cinemas, hotels, performances and sporting events possible with social distancing rules. Up to 10,000 spectators allowed at large outdoor seated events such as football matches. Up to 30 people can attend funerals and weddings.
All being well, all legal limits on social contact removed! Final closed sectors reopened such as nightclubs. Restrictions on weddings and funerals abolished.
What it means for schooling
We can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from parents and kids that children will be returning to school on 8th March. Since 5th January schools have been closed to all children (apart from children of key workers or vulnerable children). It’s been a long 7 weeks and this is welcome news for us all.
With such a long time of homeschooling, kids can’t wait to get back into the classroom. School corridors will soon be bustling again and ringing with the chatter of school buddies as they make their way to their real-life lessons.
What it means for families
Grandparents will be able to see their grandchildren from 29th March. Just wait for the treats to come flooding in as these vital face to face (if socially distanced) connections can be made again!
These crucial relations are precious and it’s welcome relief for young and old that they can see each other in the flesh again. Virtual catch ups have kept us all going, but there’s nothing like the real thing. Feeling all the loves!
What it means for socialising
As of 8th March kids will be able to take part in after school sports and activities. Great news as the weather improves and kids can once again get their fill of fresh air, exercise and the positive impact of social connection with their peers. Double win for kids mental and physical health!
From 29th March we’ll be able to make the most of the great outdoors with family picnics in parks and socially distanced outdoor meetups and walks with friends, with 6 people or 2 households.
It’s time to make the most of the improving weather and enjoy being outside with our family and friends.
What it means for sports
Organised sports such as grass roots football clubs will open again both for children and adults on 29th March. Welcome relief as facilities such as basketball courts and tennis courts are set to reopen.
This is a great time to shake off the cobwebs and enjoy the benefits of group fitness activities. Great news for both physical health and mental wellbeing.
What it means for holidays
With short, self catered UK family breaks allowed from 12th April, we’re looking forward to enjoying some quality time away from home. This is still a cautious approach and reliant on certain conditions being met. It’s likely then that this year may be a year for the staycation.
The school holidays can once again be something to look forward to. We’re super excited to be able to welcome kids to camp this year. We’ve got all our ducks in a row with our COVID-19 Secure Camps policy and our 4P’s means we’re able to provide an inherently safer environment for fun.
We were thrilled to be able to offer our February half term camp to key workers. Kids had a ball and the feedback was fantastic. We can’t wait to open up to all children at our Easter camps and summer camps and give kids an adventure to remember. If you're looking for school holiday activities you can find your local camp here.
Here’s to the end in sight, but not forgetting to respect what lockdown has tried to protect; our amazing NHS! Also a big nod of appreciation to all the key workers who’ve kept us going once again in lockdown 3. Thank you from us!