It has been over a year since the first Lockdown and just over 3 months since the third, during which we have experienced drastic changes to our professional and personal lives. Children and students have had their education turned upside down. We have realised the importance of face-to-face social interaction and the fact that the “soft edges” have been missing from our lives, those things we have always taken for granted.

On April 12th, 2021, Stage 2 of the roadmap towards lifting lockdown comes into play and those “soft edges” will be re-introduced slowly into our lives. The escapism, the meeting face-to-face with family, friends, colleagues, sitting outside a cafe for a coffee or a beer, a long-awaited visit to the barbers or hairdressers, going to the gym or swimming in a pool. Eventually, with sensible and measured protocols in place, we will hopefully work our way back to some sense of normality.

So, what will you soon be able to do in England, and what's the situation in other parts of the UK?

Stage Two as from 12th April 2021

More businesses will open, but indoor settings should be visited alone, or with household groups. Outside, six people or two households can meet.

All shops, non-essential,  will be allowed to open

Hairdressers, beauty salons and other close-contact services can open

Restaurants and pubs allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors

Gyms and spas can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres

Members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation

Weddings can take place with up to 15 people

Funerals will allow up to 30 people, with 15 people permitted at wakes

Children will be able to attend any indoor children's activity

Care home visitors will increase to two per resident

Be prepared for these Changes

The Government’s overriding goal is to protect the lives and livelihoods of citizens across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. The ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ (the roadmap) set out how the Government would continue to protect and support citizens across the UK and provided a roadmap out of the restrictions in place across England.

The Government committed to taking a cautious approach to easing those restrictions, guided by data instead of dates, to avoid another surge in infections that could put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. The roadmap set out “no earlier than” dates for these steps, which are five weeks apart. This allows four weeks for the data to begin to reflect the impact of the previous step and a further week’s notice to individuals and businesses before introducing the changes.

Take some time to read the Roadmap Reviews which will provide guidance on how the Government intends to continue re-opening the country. England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland are taking things at a different pace, so be sure you understand what guidance has been put in place for each of those countries.