Parents and children will be looking forward to life getting a little closer to normal on Monday 8th March, when schools and further education settings in England will reopen for pupils of all ages.
Wraparound childcare, such as after-school clubs, will also reopen to enable parents to work, attend education, access medical care or attend a support group. Afterschool sports will also be allowed to resume.
Students studying practical higher education courses at English universities who haven’t already returned and would be unable to complete their courses if they didn’t return to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities or complete assessments, can restart their courses.
Other changes from Monday 8th March include outdoor recreation, such as picnics, being allowed again. This can be on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. You must carry on social distancing from people outside your own household.
The rules on indoor visits to care homes will change, with regular visits for a single named visitor permitted. Visitors will be able to hold hands with the resident they’re visiting, but will need to wear PPE and take a lateral flow test.
Weddings will be allowed to take place with up to 6 guests.
After 8th March, there’ll still be restrictions on foreign travel, with overseas holidays still banned. If you have a permitted reason to travel abroad, you’ll need to complete an outbound declaration of travel before you depart.
It’s important to note that, despite these updates to the rules, the general requirement to stay at home will continue to stand after 8th March. You still mustn’t go out except to go to work or carry out other essential tasks such as shopping, caring for others, collecting medicines, attending medical appointments, or taking exercise.
If all goes well, further changes will be introduced from Monday 29th March, including the “Rule of 6” being reintroduced for outdoor meetings, and outdoor sports facilities reopening.
After this, lockdown rules will gradually be eased in three further roadmap stages. The target dates initially set are no earlier than 12th April, 17th May and 21st June respectively for stages two to four of the roadmap.
However, these three dates could change as successful rollout of the roadmap depends on certain conditions being met, such as the vaccine rollout going to plan and infection rates not risking a surge in hospital admissions.
For the latest information and guidance, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.