Lockdown restrictions across England could change drastically over the next couple of months, with the government considering a number of measures to open up the country.
Getting children back in school has been earmarked as the first priority in the plans, with 8 March currently the earliest expected date for reopening.
However, until the government publishes its roadmap in the week commencing 22 February, the steps following schools reopening are yet to be confirmed, and will to some extent depend on information on the efficacy of the vaccines, due this week.
What measures are being considered?
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Once children are back in school, it is thought that the government’s main priority will be looking to relax the restrictions on outdoor recreational activity.
There are reports that adults will be allowed to meet up socially and sit down with someone from another household in outdoor public spaces, according to The Times.
The Times also reports that ministers are considering allowing two people from different households to play outdoor sports, such as golf and tennis, from the end of next month.
So long as infection rates and the R rate keep falling, it is expected that the next step will be to allow non-essential retail businesses to reopen, with the Rule of Six reintroduced for outdoor socialising, according to The Sun.
It is thought that hospitality businesses will be able to serve people outdoors after this.
No confirmed dates
Although the roadmap due to be announced next week will lay out the various stages of reopening the UK, it is not expected to say what date each step will be taken, as these will be determined by the number of cases and the R rate.
Other than the reopening of schools on 8 March, which has been agreed across the top-level of government, the timescale of the other measures is still being debated and is yet to be confirmed.
Domestic holidays and reuniting grandparents
There is speculation in The Times that self-catering holidays in the UK could be allowed by Easter, meaning people from the same household could go away together.
There are also reports in The Telegraph that the one-to-one outdoor meeting rule could be relaxed, with an exemption made for children, allowing grandparents to see their grandchildren and a parent from the end of March.
The government has responded to the majority of these reports saying that the roadmap is yet to be confirmed, and the speed at which lockdown restrictions can be lifted will depend on the level of infection