After a year-long battle with coronavirus, the end is in sight. I am eager to lift restrictions as soon as possible, but it’s right we take a cautious approach, so we not only reopen Orpington but keep it open.
The Prime Minister has unveiled a four-step roadmap for reopening the country. It will gradually ease restrictions before removing them entirely on the 21st June at the earliest.
There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions, followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.
Before moving to the next step, the Government will assess the data to ensure the vaccine programme is on track, the jabs are working, the NHS is coping, and new variants won’t change the game.
The four stage roadmap in full
Step 1 - 8th March
In this step, schools and colleges will return. At this point, everyone in the top four priority groups will have received their first dose of the vaccine and developed the necessary protection from it.
Step 1 - 29th March
In the second part of Step 1, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed and outdoor sports will resume.
At this point, the Stay at Home order will end, but you should still continue to work from home where possible.
Step 2 - No earlier than 12th April
In this step, non-essential retail, indoor leisure facilities and hospitality venues which can serve people outdoors will reopen. By this point, nearly all adults over the age of 50 years old will have been offered their first vaccine.
Step 3 - No earlier than 17th May
In this step, larger gatherings outside will be allowed and indoor venues and hospitality can reopen. By this point, all adults over the age of 50 years old will have been offered their first vaccine and developed the necessary protection from it.
Step Four - No earlier than 21st June
In this step, all legal limits on social contact will be removed and remaining businesses reopened.