England is gearing up for the next stage of coronavirus restrictions being eased from 12 April. So far, step 1 of the proposed roadmap has been completed: on 8 March, pupils and college students returned to the classroom, and care home residents were allowed to receive one regular, named visitor; then on 29 March, outdoor gatherings of up two six people, or two households, were allowed, outdoor sports continued, and the official “stay at home” advice came to an end.

There is a minimum of five weeks between each stage, with four weeks to collect and assess data and then a week for people and businesses to prepare for the next step.

All the changes will deployed through England with no return to regional tiers. However, there may be localised efforts if a new variant of the virus is detected, for example additional testing.

End of step 1

9 April

  • Everyone in England will be entitled to take a free rapid coronavirus test twice a week. This includes even those who do not have symptoms.

  • The lateral flow tests will be available for home use or at test centres, workplaces and schools. Results take as little as 30 minutes.

Step 2

12 April

  • Most of the high street is set to reopen on this date, including non-essential retail stores, community centres, libraries, hairdressers and nail salons.

  • Gyms and other indoor leisure facilities are also to reopen, as well as outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas.

  • Campsites, holiday lets and other forms of self-contained accommodation are due to reopen, so long as indoor facilities are not shared with other households.

  • Pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen to serve people outdoors, and customers will not have to order a substantial meal in order to have an alcoholic drink.

  • Parent and child groups (not counting children under five) can resume indoors.

  • The number of guests allowed at a wedding will be able to increase to 15. Funerals will continue with the current number of guests limited to 30.

  • Care home residents will be allowed to have two regular visitors indoors.

  • International holidays are still illegal, and social distancing rules still apply.

16 April

  • A pilot for Covid-safe live events in England will begin, with an aim of showing how large events can take place without a requirement for social distancing.

  • Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool is one of the events that will take place as part of the trial on 16 April. Other events that will take place as part of the scheme include the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium on 18 April, and the FA Cup final on 15 May.

  • There has been some confusion as to whether so-called Covid certifications would be trialled at these events, with venues involved pushing back against a government press release suggesting this was the case.

Step 3

No earlier than 17 May

  • Up to 30 people from different households will be able to gather outdoors.

  • For indoor gatherings, however, the rule of six, or two households, will still apply.

  • Indoor hospitality will reopen, as well as indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, hotels, children’s play areas and indoor group sports and exercise classes.

  • The limit on guests attending weddings, receptions and wakes will increase to 30.

  • The government has also said it will update advice on social distancing between friends and families no later than step 3.

  • This will also be the earliest date at which international holidays may be able to resume, subject to a government review.

Step 4

No earlier than 21 June

  • All legal limits on mixing will be removed and the last sectors to remain closed, such as nightclubs, will reopen. Large events can take place.

To be announced

Wider rollout of Covid certification scheme

  • The government has said a Covid-status certification system will be developed over the coming months in an effort to allow higher-risk settings to be opened up safely.

  • The system will take into account three potential factors: vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity.

This content first appear on the guardian

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