The Speaker
Friday, 12 April 2024 – 15:41

Key dates for England’s lockdown easing – subject to meeting four tests

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced key dates for the easing of lockdown measures in England.

Lockdown measures in England will start to ease from 8 March, with the reopening of schools to all pupils and some relaxation to outdoor social mixing rules. Lockdown measures are to be eased in four steps, with each step expected to happen across the country at the same time – unlike previously under the tiering system.

Moving between steps in easing lockdown measures on the below dates will rely on continued progress in tackling the Coronavirus pandemic – specifically, the government will make decisions on easing restrictions based upon four tests, outlined here.

Between each step, there must be a minimum of 5 weeks, meaning that any delays could set back future easements. 

Here’s a look at the key dates set out by the Prime Minister in the journey out of lockdown…


Step 1

Date: 8 March 2021

  • Schools and colleges to open for all students 
  • Students on practical higher education courses to attend face to face sessions
  • Exercise and recreation outdoors permitted with one other person from outside household bubble

Date: 29 March 2021

  • Stay at home rules ended, with ‘Rule of 6’ or two households rule reinstated in outdoor settings
  • Indoor inter-household mixing still banned
  • Organised outdoor sport will be allowed to resume, while outdoor sports facilities can also reopen
  • Travel should be minimised
  • Outdoor parent and child groups (up to 15 parents) can take place)


Step 2

Date: No earlier than 12 April 2021

  • Reopening of all retail and personal care outlets
  • Reopening of libraries and community centres
  • Reopening of most outdoor attractions
  • Reopening of indoor leisure centres, gyms and pools for individual use only
  • Self-contained accommodation can be opened, as can outdoor hospitality
  • Indoor parent and child groups (up to 15 parents) can take place)
  • All children’s activities can resume
  • Domestic overnight stays can take place (household only)
  • Weddings, wakes and receptions can take place for 15 people
  • Event pilots can take place


Step 3 

Date: No earlier than 17 May

  • Maximum of 30 people allowed to meet outdoors
  • Rule of 6 or two households indoors (subject to review)
  • Reopening of indoor hospitality including pubs, bars and restaurants
  • Organised indoor sport can take place for adults
  • Hotels and other remaining accommodation can reopen
  • International travel may be possible
  • Indoor events can take place with 1,000 people or 50% capacity
  • Outdoor seated events can take place with 10,000 people or 25% capacity


Step 4 (all subject to review) 

Date: No earlier than 21 June

  • No legal limits on social contact
  • Remaining businesses including nightclubs to reopen
  • No legal limits on live events
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