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Government and public health guidance
Latest Official Guidance - updated 5 March 2021

For England

The Westminster Government announced their four-step ‘Roadmap out of lockdown’ for England on 22 February 2021, with information about this available on the following webpages:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021
www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary

We found the summary on the BBC website to also be very helpful at www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-52530518

Step One, from 8 March & then 29 March 2021

  • Schools to reopen in England; all pupils and college students to return fully. Individual lessons in music, dance and drama can continue in schools
  • Out-of-school settings and providers of wraparound childcare will be able to offer indoor and outdoor provision to all children. More about this here.
            and then from 29 March 2021
  • Outdoor gatherings to be allowed of up to a maximum of six people from different households, or two different households if this is larger, in parks and gardens. Outdoor sport for children and adults will be allowed
  • The official stay at home order will end, but people will be encouraged to stay local
  • People will still be asked to work from home where possible, with no overseas travel allowed beyond the current small number of exceptions
  • A week’s notice will be given on progressing to Step 2 (expected 5 April).

Step two, not before 12 April 2021

  • Reopening of non-essential retail and buildings like public libraries and community centres
  • Most outdoor venues to open, including pubs and restaurants, but only for outdoor tables
  • Drive-in cinema and drive-in performances can happen, with social distancing remaining in place. A proposed pilot programme into the safe reopening of venues will also commence as part of this step
  • Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and pools to open; for individuals and households, but with continued limits on indoor mixing between households and limits on outdoor mixing
  • Indoor play activities for children and restart, with up to 15 parents/guardians able to attend
  • A weeks’ notice will be given on progressing to Step 3 (12 May earliest).

Step three, no earlier than 17 May 2021

  • Most restrictions on meeting outdoors will be lifted. Pubs and restaurants will open for indoor service
  • Adult group sports and exercise classes - which includes participatory dance activities – can restart
  • Theatres, museums and cinemas can open, with social distancing and previous capacity caps continuing. Larger events will be allowed, subject to enhanced testing
  • A week’s notice will be given on progressing to Step 4 (14 June earliest).

Step four, no earlier than 21 June 2021

  • All limits on social contact should be lifted
  • Large events above the Step 3 capacity restrictions will be permitted, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme. This will potentially require the use of testing to reduce the risk of infection, pending further evaluation
  • The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates outlined in the roadmap are all contingent on data and subject to change. Before taking each step, the Government will review the latest data and will only ease restrictions further if it is safe to do so.
 

For Northern Ireland

The current lockdown has been extended to 1 April 2021, subject to a review on 18 March. However, primary school pupils in year groups P1 to P3 are set return to classes on 8 March, while secondary school pupils in key exam years, year groups 12 to 14, will return to face-to-face learning on 22 March.

Full guidance at www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you

 


For Scotland

A four-phase planned easing of restrictions in Scotland has been announced. The full Covid-19 Strategic Framework Update is here available here (a summary is on p.14). 

Phase 1 - from 22 February 2021

  • Early learning and childcare and schools open for Primary 1-3 pupils and senior phase pupils for essential practical work. Limited increase in the provision for vulnerable children. 

Phase 2 - unlikely before 15 March 2021

  • Next phase of school return, which will start with the rest of the primary school years, 4 to 7, and getting more senior phase secondary pupils back in the classroom for at least part of their learning. Non-contact outdoor group sports for 12 to 17-year-olds. Socialising rules eased, to allow outdoor meetings of four people from two households (compared to two people from two households now).

Phase 3 - at least three weeks later - possibly 5 April 2021

  • Stay-at-Home restrictions lifted. Third and final phase of schools reopening if required. Restrictions on outdoor gatherings eased so that at least six people from two households can meet. Essential retailers list expanded and click-and-collect resumes for non-essential retail.

Phase 4 - possibly 26 April 2021

  • Limited other easing within Level 4, including permitting non-essential work in people’s homes. Scotland will move fully back to a levels system of Covid-19 restrictions. There will be a phased re-opening of the economy, including non-essential retail, hospitality and services like gyms and hairdressers. This move would see the whole country being placed in level 3 and an easing of the current travel restrictions
  • Decisions on final dates will be based on data. The move out of lockdown will take place in three-week blocks but, if data allows and positive trends continue, an acceleration of the easing of restrictions will take place.


For Wales

First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the extension of Level 4 restrictions with suggestions of a lockdown review on 12 March. However, there are a couple of changes: 
  • Four people from two different households can now exercise together outdoors (but not in private gardens)
  • Schools are open for Foundation Phase learners (pupils aged 3 to 7)
  • Some vocational learners, such as apprentices, have also been allowed to go back to colleges to access training or workplace environments for their practical qualifications. All primary school pupils and those in years 11 and 13, who have to sit exams, could return from 15 March if the situation continues to improve.

Full guidance at gov.wales/alert-level-4