The UK has been in lockdown for a long seven weeks, but it looks as though some of the restrictions may finally be eased from next week.
For the last (almost) two months, the British public have spent most of the time inside their homes. Only permitted to venture out to buy food, get vital medicines, for work, or for daily exercise, there have been tight restrictions in place to attempt to contain the coronavirus. So will this all be changing next week? Will lockdown be eased on Monday? And if so, which lockdown measures will be lifted first?
Will Boris be easing lockdown on Monday?
The short answer is yes, it’s looking likely. Yesterday, the Prime Minister confirmed that some of the strictest measures will begin to be ‘lifted’ from Monday next week – 11th May.
He said that the ‘phase two’ plan for tackling the virus may kick-off on Monday, saying “We’ll want if we possibly can to get going with some of these measures on Monday”, during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).
“I think it would be a good thing if people had an idea of what’s coming the following day.”
It comes seven weeks after Boris Johnson issued a mandatory stay at home order for the entire UK.
But with the UK fraught with anxiety over the lifting of the strictest lockdown, many are wondering how a change to restrictions will work.
We know that it’s vital to maintain the social distancing measures for the foreseeable future – so just which lockdown measures might Boris Johnson be easing on Monday?
Which lockdown measures will be lifted first if the lockdown is eased on Monday?
Boris Johnson did not reveal exactly which measures may be the first to be eased next week. And of course, all will be revealed on Sunday, during his next address to the nation.
But unconfirmed reports of the easing measures include changes to time spent outdoors, and work.
The Daily Mail reports that from Monday some ‘non-essential’ shops may reopen, and people may be able to exercise outside more than once a day.
The reported measures include:
- garden centres may reopen
- more staff may return to businesses that have stayed open during lockdown
- people may be able to travel to the countryside for walks and picnics
- people might be allowed to exercise outside more than once a day
- the public may also not be moved on for sitting on a bench or sunbathing, as long as the two-metre social distancing rule is stuck to
Of course, these are only the rumoured lifts to lockdown restrictions, so it’s important to wait until official confirmation from the government on Sunday, before acting on them.
And as ever, social distancing will remain vitally important until told otherwise.
Further restrictions that could be lifted this summer
Reports also suggest that the government could continue to ease restrictions in a slow, phased way over the coming summer months.
It’s claimed that from the end of May, primary schools could gradually return with smaller classes, and that from June, secondary schools may reopen.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also appeared to suggest that cafes with outdoor spaces may be able to reopen over the summer. He told Sky News, “There is strong evidence that outdoors the spread is much, much lower, so there may be workarounds that some businesses, for instance cafes, especially over the summer, may be able to put into place.”
Reports also claim that pubs and restaurants won’t be allowed to reopen until August, and even then they will need to put in place strict social distancing measures.
It is suggested that by October, if virus cases remain low, all remaining closed areas of the economy may be given permission to reopen.
However, government ministers have said that the tightest lockdown restrictions could be immediately reinstated if cases of the virus spike again.
Michael Gove also warned that the British public would likely have to live with “some degree of constraint” untila a vaccine is available for the coronavirus – which suggests a ‘new normal’ will be in place for the rest of the year.