BORIS Johnson revealed his 50-page roadmap to easing the UK’s coronavirus lockdown in three stages on Monday, May 11.
The Prime Minister published a lengthy plan to get Britain back to school and work without risking a second wave of infections.
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What are the new lockdown rules?
He clarified these points in a 50-page document released the following day.
But lots of the details are still missing from the document, with it raising more questions than it answers.
In a foreword, the PM said: “This document sets out a plan to rebuild the UK for a world with Covid-19.
“It is not a quick return to ‘normality.’ Nor does it lay out an easy answer.
“And, inevitably, parts of this plan will adapt as we learn more about the virus.
“But it is a plan that should give the people of the United Kingdom hope.
“Hope that we can rebuild; hope that we can save lives; hope that we can safeguard livelihoods.”
The 50-page document revealed:
- People won’t get the chance to see their relatives again properly for at least weeks to come
- You can meet one other person from a different household outdoors – following social distancing guidelines
- Brits will be advised to wear face masks on public transport and anywhere where people can’t stay two metres apart
- The Governments want all primary school kids to go back to school for a month before the summer holidays
- The public is now allowed to go outside for leisure reasons, but they can’t stay overnight for a holiday
- The public can now use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying two metres apart
- Sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast within weeks
- Anyone who can’t work from home should now be able to go back to work
- In the next few weeks, anyone coming into the UK from abroad will face a 14 day quarantine.
Mr Johnson emphasised that all the new measures are entirely conditional on controlling the virus, and he rolled out a new Covid Alert System.
The rules slightly differ in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Wales is now allowing exercise more than a once a day but is encouraging people to stay local, and it is the same in Scotland.
Northern Ireland extended its current restrictions for another three weeks, meaning there is no change to rules on exercise – but the government added “nuanced” changes may be on the way.
New fines of up to £3,200 are also being introduced for those who repeatedly break social distancing rules.
More than 9,000 fines have been issued by police since the lockdown began.
Speculation is mounting over potential plans for social “bubbles” to be created, but the government has not yet made an official announcement.
Who is allowed to go back to work?
These new rules, valid only in England, lets people who cannot work from home return to work if they can.
People who work in fields such as construction and manufacturing where remote working is not possible are being encouraged to go back to work.
However, you should only go back if coronavirus safety measures are in place.
You are also encouraged not to use public transport – instead you should walk, drive or cycle.
Mr Johnson said those who cannot work from home are being “actively encouraged” to return.
Businesses have called for clarity on what changes need to be made to safely bring people back into the workplace.
The PM has also been criticised over the announcement by unions, who said it was a “recipe for chaos” as more than five million people work in manufacturing and construction.
Labour leader Keir Starmer accused Mr Johnson of giving workers just “12 hours notice” before telling them to get back to work.
Can I go fishing, play golf and see my friends?
The R&A – golf’s governing body – confirmed on Sunday, May 10, that courses will reopen across England on Wednesday, May 13, but remain closed in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Tennis courts will also be reopened, and you will now have access to “unlimited” outdoor exercise.
This includes playing sports with members of your household, and being able to sit down in parks and on beaches.
You can drive to a location to do exercise – such as into the countryside for a walk.
The rules still forbid meeting up with more than one friend from outside your household.
Are shops and garden centres reopening?
Shops remain closed with no widespread reopening planned until June 1 at the very earliest.
Garden centres and nurseries will be allowed to reopen on May 13 as long as they abide by social distance rules.
Shoppers will have to ensure they keep two metres apart, and there will be a limited number of people allowed inside.
The garden centre industry is worth more than £7billion, but has been hit hard by the lockdown which has taken place during its busiest season.
Wales also confirmed the reopening of garden centres.
North Wales police and crime commissioner Arfon Jones however criticised the move as “contradictory”.
He said: “I was always under the impression that if you were going to travel, you had to have a reasonable excuse to do so.
“It does seem a bit contradictory – is it essential to go to a garden centre?”
How much outdoor exercise am I allowed to take each day?
From May 13, you will be allowed to take unlimited exercise each day, and will also be able to drive to another location to do it.
Brits will now be able to take the car out for a day trip to the countryside or the beach.
Everyone however will still have to abide by social distancing measures for keeping two metres apart while out and about.
And you will still only be able to exercise with members of your own household, or just one other person – as long as they keep their distance.
It is a change from previous advice which said people were only allowed out for up to two hours every day.
Can my children return to school?
Children still cannot return to school as the restrictions have not yet been changed – but the government was hopeful of the first classes starting again on June 1.
It is currently estimated just one in 100 children is currently going to school, despite estimates of around 20 per cent staying in class.
Despite advice for some workers to return to their jobs, their children will still not be able to go to school.
Classes remain reserved for the vulnerable and children of key workers.
The PM was hopeful however that the youngest children may be able to return at the start of June.
Mr Johnson’s plan would see pupils in reception, year one and year six return, followed by other primary school classes.
Only after that would older children begin to return, first being those in year 10 and year 12 who are doing their GCSEs and A-Levels – but that would not be until July.
And these opening plans remain conditional on the continued decline of the virus, and schools will not open until they are safe.