Lockdown-weary Britons hail June 21 'independence day'
‘Preparing for my hangover now!’: Twitter is flooded with memes as lockdown-weary Britons hail June 21 ‘independence day’ after Boris Johnson aims to lift all restrictions across England by the Summer Solstice
- Legal limits on social contact could be lifted as early as June 21, PM said today
- Brits are celebrating as it comes just a day before England play Euro 2021 match
- One joked: ‘I’m going to start preparing for my hangover now for the 22nd June’
Twitter has quickly flooded with memes after lockdown-weary Britons hailed June 21 as the country’s ‘independence day,’ after Boris Johnson aims to lift restrictions across England in time for the summer.
The prime minister set out the Government’s roadmap for easing lockdown rules this afternoon, with key dates revealing when certain restrictions will be lifted.
Schools will reopen from March 8, with another easing not expected until March 29, when the formal Stay at Home edict is dropped for ‘Stay Local’.
Shops, hairdressers and pubs will remain closed until April 12 at the earliest, while international travel is completely off the cards until at least May 17.
June 21 is the key date in people’s minds after today’s announcement, as it was earmarked as the date when all legal limits on social contact could go, and the remaining elements of the hospitality sector be allowed to open.
Boris Johnson’s announcement has people in England very excited as they prepare for a return to normal, just in time for the summer
Boris Johnson today unveiled his lockdown exit strategy with rules due to start being lifted from March 8
The PM stressed that he is being driven by ‘data not dates’ and the timeline is not guaranteed.
Brits couldn’t help celebrate the announcement – with June 21 coming just a day before England play Czech Republic at Euro 2021.
Others declared they were having a birthday party – and that everyone in the country was invited.
One joked: ‘I’m going to start preparing for my hangover now on the 22nd June’
The government’s roadmap that June 21 could see all legal limits on gatherings and events lifted, larger events and nightclubs could open.
Mr Johnson said the road map will ‘guide us cautiously but irreversibly towards reclaiming our freedoms’.
In the Commons, he said: ‘The threat remains substantial with the numbers in hospital only now beginning to fall below the peak of the first wave in April.
‘But we are able to take these steps because of the resolve of the British people and the extraordinary success of our NHS in vaccinating more than 17.5 million people across the UK.’
He said he will not take the risk of having to reimpose restrictions as a result of lifting lockdown at a quicker pace.
Twitter users are more than ready for a return to normal on June 21, with some excited for a return to nightclubs, and others focusing on England’s Euro 2021 match against Czech Republic
He told the Commons: ‘The chief medical officer is clear that moving any faster would mean acting before we know the impact of each step, which would increase the risk of us having to reverse course and reimpose restrictions, I won’t take that risk.
‘Step one will happen from March 8, by which time those in the top four priority groups will be benefiting from the increasing protection they receive from their first dose of the vaccine.’
How will lockdown ease in the roadmap?
Step One Part One: March 8
From March 8, all pupils and students will return to schools and colleges across England.
So-called wrap-around childcare will also be allowed to resume, paving the way for after and before school clubs to reopen.
People will be allowed to meet one other person outside for recreation, for example, to have a picnic or to meet for coffee.
Care home residents will be able to have one regular named visitor.
The Government’s stay at home order will remain in place, with travel for non-essential purposes still banned.
Step One Part Two: March 29
From March 29, outdoor gatherings of up to six people or a larger group from up to two households will be allowed. These gatherings will be allowed to happen in private gardens.
Outdoor sports like tennis and basketball will be allowed to reopen and people will also be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
It is at this point that the Government’s stay at home guidance will end, to be replaced by ministers encouraging people to ‘stay local’.
However, the Government is expected not to define what constitutes local, instead choosing to rely on people using their common sense to decide on journeys.
People will still be told to work from home wherever possible while international travel will still be banned unless it is for essential purposes.
Step Two: April 12
Nom-essential retail will be allowed to reopen as well as personal care premises like hairdressers, barbers and nail salons.
Public buildings like libraries, museums and art galleries will be allowed to welcome back customers.
Meanwhile, hospitality venues and outdoor attractions like theme parks will be given the green light to reopen in some form.
However, there will still be rules on household mixing: Essentially any activity which involves being indoors will be restricted to members of the same household.
Gyms and swimming pools will also reopen from April 12 but only on the basis that people go on their own or with their own household.
Pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen but at this point they will only be able to have customers outdoors.
Any visits to a pub or restuarant will have to comply with the rules on social contact, so no more than two households or the rule of six.
The Government will not be bringing back the old requirement for people to order a substantial meal with alcohol while the old 10pm curfew will be ditched.
All customers at hospitality venues will also have to be seated when they order food or drink, with ordering at the bar prohibited.
Campsites and holiday lets where indoor facilities are not shared with other households can also reopen but trips must be restricted a single household.
Funerals will be allowed to continue with up to 30 people, while the rules on wedding receptions will be eased to allow the number of guests to increase from six to 15.
Step Three: May 17
The two household and rule of six requirements for outdoor gatherings will be ditched but gatherings of more than 30 people in places like parks will still be banned.
Crucially, mixing indoors will be allowed again. The rule of six or a larger group from up to two households will be allowed to meet.
However, this will be kept under review by ministers to see if rules could be relaxed still further.
This is also the point at which pubs and restaurants and other hospitality venues will be able to open indoors, with the rule of six and two household limit in place. But groups meeting outdoors at pubs will be allowed to be bigger.
Entertainment venues like cinemas and children’s play areas will be able to reopen, as will hotels and B&Bs. Indoor adult sports groups and exercise classes can also reopen.
Changes will also be made to sporting and performance events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half full
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