Boris Johnson unveiled his new exit strategy from the coronavirus pandemic. Buoyed by the vaccine rollout and falling case numbers, the prime minister emphasised that it was a cautious road, but a one-way road towards a brighter future – hopefully beginning on 21st June.
Most met the prime minister’s 3:30 pm statement in the House of Commons with jubilation and optimism, noting that it was the most positive moment in a year of the pandemic. However, the full reopening of the economy is still some four months away, and some are wondering if the opening is too cautious. From the opposite end, the prime minister is also facing criticism that the reopening is perhaps too fast, particularly with all schools returning at the same time – on the 8th of March.
The prime minister’s statement, alongside words from Professor Chris Whitty, warned that the United Kingdom will never be truly Covid-free and the public would likely face some measures and a degree of risk far beyond the 21st June date.
Following Boris Johnson’s statement, the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, called on the government not to reverse course again and urged a greater vaccination of teacher’s and other education professionals.
According to YouGov, most of Britain is behind the current roadmap, with only 16% believing that it is too slow. One of those that believes the government are not acting fast enough to reduce measures however is Steve Baker, MP for High Wycombe. The long-standing lockdown sceptic said that the lockdown easing was based on modelling and not data, despite the government repeatedly insisting that all phases of the easing would be based on consistently reviewed data.
The news of the potential for nightclubs to re-open in June was met with jubilation from much of the United Kingdom, with many brands already capitalising on the potential re-opening. Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing have been amongst those urging customers to consider their outfits for the big day. Many optimistic Briton’s have already booked places at restaurants and pubs with outdoor capacities for 12th April – when outdoor venues can open – and businesses will no doubt be starting to prepare for a potentially historic night when venues do finally reopen.
It seems that almost a year after we went into lockdown, the United Kingdom has a clear finish line in sight. Despite the mixed reaction, there is real hope and optimism that normality might soon return.
Here’s a look at some of the reactions to the announcement of the plan for lockdown easing in England. For more details about the plans, click here.