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12th April 2021

Pubs and restaurants serving outside can reopen

today, along with non-essential shops, gyms and

hairdressers, as England's lockdown restrictions are

lifted further.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has urged caution,

saying: "We can't be complacent.”

The prime minister also said the government was

"hopeful" international travel could resume in the

next stage of lockdown easing on 17 May, but

warned against the effects of the surge of

coronavirus in other parts of the world.

He said the government would set out "well before 17 May what is reasonable" and aim to give the airlines "as much notice as possible”.

More businesses can now open as part of Stage two easing of lockdown rules.

Outside, six people or two households can meet - even in private gardens.

You should continue to work from home if you can and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible.

Mixing indoors with people not in your household or bubble is still not allowed .

The following is now permitted or allowed to open:

  • All shops
  • Hairdressers, beauty salons and other close-contact services
  • Restaurants and pubs (serving food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors)
  • Gyms, spas, zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres
  • Holidays in England in self-contained accommodation by members of the same household
  • Non-essential journeys between England and Wales
  • Weddings - up to 15 people
  • Funerals - up to 30 people, with 15 at wakes
  • Indoor children's activities
  • Two care home visitors per resident
  • Driving lessons - with driving tests restarting on 22 April


This is step 2 in the government’s 4 step ‘roadmap’ to unlock the economy and lift coronavirus restrictions.  

Before each stage of the roadmap, the Government will review data assessing the impact of the previous step against four tests.

These tests are:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • Government assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern


Step three of the roadmap is scheduled for 17 May (not before).

Under step three, groups of up to 30 will be allowed outdoors, and the Rule of Six will be in place indoors, subject to review.

Step three will also see the return of:

  •     Indoor seating in pubs and restaurants
  •     Indoor entertainment venues like cinemas and theatres
  •     Domestic overnight stays
  •     Organised indoor adult sport
  •     Weddings and other “significant life events” with 30 people
  •     Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as performances
  •     Remaining accommodation


International travel is currently scheduled to resume from this date, but this is under review, with Prime Minister Johnson set to provide more information this month.

The final step of the roadmap is planned for 21 June, when all limits on social contact are set to be lifted.  However, the roadmap states: “Some measures may be required even after all adults have been offered a vaccine, because neither coverage nor effectiveness of the vaccine will be 100 per cent.”

Mr Johnson encouraged people to use free NHS tests, as everyone in England is to be given access to two rapid coronavirus tests a week from Friday.

Meanwhile, Professor Chris Whitty warned "this virus will be with us for the foreseeable future", and Sir Patrick suggested the pandemic could result in long-term changes in behaviour.

Separately, the government's scientific advisers have said the next phase of unlocking is "highly unlikely" to put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

However, later steps such as indoor mixing are "highly likely" to lead to a resurgence in hospitalisations and deaths, SPI-M - a subgroup of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) - has predicted.