Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown

23 February 2021

On 22 February 2021, Boris Johnson addressed the nation to reveal his ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown. This will be a staggered process, spread across several key dates, that it is hoped will bring a sense of normality back into everyone’s lives.

The Prime Minister did confirm that the dates revealed are the earliest that lockdown restrictions will be eased, and that they could be delayed depending on how the situation with coronavirus progresses, and the data that is available.

The key dates are as follows:

Step one –  8 March 2021

  • All children and students to return to face-to-face education in schools and college
  • Care home residents will be allowed one regular visitor, on the proviso that they are tested for coronavirus and wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Some university students on practical courses able to resume face-to-face learning
  • The Stay at Home message will stay in place, but people can meet with one person outside their household, or with their household or support bubble, for outdoors activities, such as picnics
  • Wraparound childcare and other supervised children’s activities can resume where they enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group
  • Everyone in the top four vaccine priority groups will have received the first dose of the vaccine

Step two – no earlier than 12 April 2021

  • Non-essential retail, personal care premises and public buildings to reopen
  • The majority of outdoor attractions to open – e.g. zoos and theme parks. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances permitted
  • Indoor leisure facilities – e.g. gyms and swimming pools to reopen
  • Hospitality venues will be able to serve people outdoors
  • Self-contained accommodation, e.g. holiday lets can reopen
  • Funerals can continue with up to 30 people. 15 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events

Step three – no earlier than 17 May 2021

  • Outdoors, most social contact rules lifted – gatherings of more than 30 people will still be illegal
  • Outdoor performances, such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen. Indoors, the rule of six, or two households, will apply
  • Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will reopen
  • Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues, with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will be allowed, and so will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower)
  • Up to 10,000 people will be able to attend the largest outdoor seated venues, or they can be a quarter-full (whichever is lower)
  • Up to 30 people able to attend weddings, receptions, and wakes, as well as funerals. Other life events will be permitted

Step four – no earlier than 21 June 2021

  • The ambition is that all legal limits on social contact will be removed
  • It is hoped that nightclubs can be reopened, and restrictions on large events and performances will be removed
  • At this point, the Government will assess if all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events

CIPP comment

Does Boris Johnson’s announcement that certain lockdown rules will remain in place for a number of months mean that the rumours circulating about a possible extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) are true? The Prime Minister confirmed that Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak will confirm how the Government plans to continue to support businesses in his Budget on 3 March 2021. If you have any feedback or comments on this, please don’t hesitate to contact the Policy team, at [email protected]


The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication. For all the latest information, news and resources on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting payroll professions, visit our Coronavirus hub.