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Step 2 Of Lockdown Easing Can Begin Next Week, Prime Minister Confirms

By Alex Landon

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England will move into Step 2 on Monday.

With coronavirus cases falling and vaccination numbers increasing, England is ready to take the next step out of lockdown. It’ll come on April 12, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson, speaking at a Downing Street press conference today, confirmed that outdoor dining, hairdressers, non-essential retail, and some holiday lets can return.

As England has met the government’s four tests for easing, we’re now able to get some more freedoms back on Monday (April 12). Here’s what we can expect to see from next week:

Non-essential shops can reopen. Shopping will be back on the cards as retailers can open their doors once again.

Hairdressers and nail salons reopen. It’ll finally be time for a long overdue haircut as salons open to the public once more. Precautions including face masks and PPE are likely to be in effect.

Outdoor dining can resume. Restaurants and pubs will be able to resume outdoor service and takeaways, with the two households/Rule of Six still applying, and no curfew or substantial meal requirement. However, people will need to be seated for eating and drinking. This also means the return of beer gardens!

Care home residents will be allowed two visitors. One visitor has been permitted since early March, but this offers a chance for more contact with care home residents.

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Indoor leisure facilities like gyms and swimming pools can reopen. Workouts and laps are back on the table in this stage.

Holiday lets are permitted for use by individuals or household groups. Holidays are an option, but only with your household or on your own, and only in self-contained accommodation. Hotels, hostels, and other holiday lets will not return until May 17 at the earliest, and international travel won’t be allowed to resume until then, either.

Zoos, theme parks, and drive in cinemas, plus public libraries and community centres can open. Even more outdoor recreation and entertainment settings are allowed to reopen at this stage.

Weddings with up to 15 guests can take place. Delayed your nuptials to allow family and friends to join? A few select guests can join you from next week.

We’ll likely learn about the next round of restrictions (Step 3 is expected to begin on May 17) in mid-May, and until then, restrictions on gatherings and travel will still be in place. Six people or two households is the limit for social gatherings, and we’re still being asked to minimise travel, although there are no limits on how far we can travel in England now. Still, the move to Step 2 marks a huge step forward for the country.

See the full roadmap out of lockdown here.