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Prime Minister’s plan for easing restrictions in England

February 23, 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced the steps on how coronavirus restrictions will be eased over the next four months. There are 4 steps leading up to removal of all legal limits on social contact and the data assessments will be carried out before moving to the next step. Prime minister has repeatedly mentioned that all decisions will be led by data rather than dates.

Here is an outline of the 4 steps:

From Now:

  • The Meetings Industry Association today(02/03/21) received clarification from the government that the following is allowed.

In-person meetings for work, training or education purposes can still take place but only where it is not possible to carry out the activity from home, and if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed COVID-19 guidance. People should only attend a business meeting in person if it is necessary for them to be there – social meetings with work colleagues should not happen. Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely in Step 1 and 2. see HERE for details.


From 8th March:

  • Schools will reopen for all students – adult learners will also be able to return to site, see HERE for specific guidance
  • In addition to exercise recreational activities will be allowed outdoors with one other person, own household or support bubble

From 29th March:

  • Legal “stay at home” requirement removed, but “work from home” restriction will continue
  • “Rule of six” returns for outdoor activities
  • Meeting of two households will be permitted outdoors, including private gardens
  • Outdoor leisure and sports activities will reopen, subject to guidance


From 12th April at the earliest, subject to data assessments:

Permitted services and activities (subject to social contact rules and guidance):

  • Non-essential shops
  • Personal care services (hairdressers, salons etc)
  • Gyms and spas (excluding saunas and steam rooms)
  • Libraries, community centres and other similar leisure facilities
  • Outdoor leisure facilities like zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas/events/performances
  • Outdoor dining and hospitality venues (table service only)
  • Domestic overnight stays at self-contained accommodation, but only if used by members of the same household
  • Weddings, commemorative events and receptions with up to 15 attendees

People should minimize domestic travel and continue working from home. International holidays will not be permitted.


From 17th May or at least 5 weeks after STEP 2:

Permitted services and activities (subject to Covid Secure guidance):

  • Groups up to 30 people meeting outdoors
  • Groups up to 6 people or two households socially meeting indoors
  • Indoor hospitality with table service only
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment such as outdoor cinemas and theatres
  • Remaining overnight accommodation to include B&Bs and hostels
  • Indoor sports and exercise classes
  • Controlled conferences and events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lowest
  • Outdoor events of up to 4,000 people or 50% of venue’s capacity, whichever is lowest
  • Large outdoor seated events of up to 10,000 people or 25% capacity in venues where crowds can be safely distributed
  • Weddings, funerals, commemorative events and other life events of up to 30 people


From 21st June or at least 5 weeks after STEP 3:

Subject to outcome of scientific data assessments and with appropriate mitigations in place the Government aims to reopen all remaining services including nightclubs and large events and remove all legal limits on social contact.

Alongside the steps of restrictions easing and data assessments, the formal reviews will be carried out on the following issues:

  1. Social distancing and face coverings
  2. International travel
  3. COVID Status Certification for businesses
  4. Return of major events
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