Non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality has been given the green light to reopen on 12 April, as the prime minister announced that the government intends to keep to the next stage of the lockdown roadmap.
Outdoor hospitality and “significant” parts of the indoor economy will now reopen after data confirmed the government’s “four tests” for easing Covid restrictions had been met.
Outdoor service at hospitality venues will have no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcohol, and no curfew. The requirement to eat and drink while seated will remain.
Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to six people or two households, however, and people must not socialise indoors with anyone they do not live with or have not formed a support bubble with.
In addition to retail and outdoor hospitality, hairdressers, beauty and nail salons and indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas can also reopen from next week.
Speaking at a Downing Street news briefing yesterday (5 April), Boris Johnson said: “We see nothing in our present data that makes us think that we’ll have to deviate from the roadmap.”
He added: “On Monday 12 April, I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips.”
Nonetheless, he warned that the public “can’t be complacent”, adding that “we can see the waves of sickness affecting other countries and we have seen how this story goes”.
He warned: “We still don’t know how strong the vaccine shield will be when cases begin to rise, as I’m afraid that they will, and that’s why we are saying please get your vaccine – or your second dose – when your turn comes.”
Before proceeding to this next step of the roadmap, the government studied the latest data to assess the impact of the first step, which began when schools reopened on 8 March.
The assessment was based on 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.
- Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.