Schools to return from 8 March as roadmap on lockdown easing published

The new roadmap out of the current lockdown has been published:COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021
It sets out how the government will begin to lift restrictions in England from 8 March, starting with schools and colleges.
It outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before taking each step, the government will review the latest data on the impact of the previous step against the following four tests:
  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  • The government’s assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
The four steps for easing restrictions are:
  • Step 1 – 8 March the priority is to ensure that all children and students return safely to face-to-face education in schools and colleges from 8 March.
  • Step 2 –no earlier than 12 April, will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres.
  • Step 3 –no earlier than 17 May, the Government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.
  • Step 4 –no earlier than 21 June, the Government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact. Before Step 4 begins, the Government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission.