England has now moved into Step 2 of the roadmap out of lockdown.
With coronavirus cases falling and vaccination numbers increasing, England has taken the next step out of lockdown, and it’s a big one. As first detailed in the Prime Minister’s address on February 22, and confirmed on April 5, outdoor dining, hairdressers, non-essential retail, and some holiday lets can all return as of April 12. Here’s what you’re able to do right now.
Non-essential shops have reopened. Shopping is back on the cards as retailers open their doors once again. Pictures emerging this morning show that some people queued for hours overnight to be the first into shops such as Primark and Zara.
Hairdressers and nail salons are allowed to open. It’s finally time for a long overdue haircut, as salons open to the public once more. Precautions including face masks and PPE are still in effect. Here are London’s funkiest salons, if you’re planning a chop soon.
Outdoor dining resumes. Restaurants and pubs can now resume outdoor service and takeaways, with the two households/Rule of Six still applying, and no curfew or substantial meal requirement. However, people will need to be seated for eating and drinking. This also means the return of the capital’s best beer gardens, whilst punters can also head to the West End, Kensington and Chelsea, Mayfair and Belgravia, or Covent Garden outdoor dining zones for a bite to eat.
Care home residents are allowed two visitors. One visitor has been permitted since early March, but this offers a chance for more contact with care home residents.
Indoor leisure facilities like gyms and swimming pools can reopen. Workouts and laps are back on the table in this stage.
Holiday lets are permitted for use by individuals or household groups. Holidays are an option, but only with your household or on your own, and only in self-contained accommodation. Hotels, hostels, and other holiday lets will not return until May 17 at the earliest, and international travel won’t be allowed to resume until then, either. However, we’re currently permitted to head off on a day trip, such as to beautiful nearby beaches.
Zoos, theme parks, and drive in cinemas, plus public libraries and community centres can open. Even more outdoor recreation and entertainment settings are allowed to reopen at this stage – with London’s Sky Garden just one excellent example now open.
Weddings with up to 15 guests can take place. Delayed your nuptials to allow family and friends to join? A few select guests can join you in celebration from now on.
We’ll likely learn about the next round of easing (Step 3 is expected to begin on May 17) in mid-May, and until then, restrictions on gatherings and travel will still be in place. Six people or two households is the limit for social gatherings, and we’re still being asked to minimise travel where possible. Still, this is a huge step forward for the country, and a welcome return of some of our very favourite things!
Also published on Medium.