Pubs open for outdoor pints by April and hopes hospitality will be back to normal by July

BRITAIN’S roadmap out of lockdown is starting to take shape with pubs set to reopen by April and hopes that the hospitality industry will be back to normal by July.

Staycations are also on the cards for Easter giving Brits hopes they will be able to enjoy long weekends away in the spring sunshine.

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Boris Johnson is set to reveal his full roadmap for lockdown easing on Monday – with restrictions set to be reviewed every few weeks.

Schools are set to reopen first from March 8, with non-essential shops opening next.

Social restrictions such as meeting-up with friends and getting back to the pub are set to be loosened shortly afterwards.

The Sun has previously exclusively reported how pubs will open for outdoor pints first in April before letting punters indoors in May.

Reports overnight suggested pubs, bars and restaurants would have to follow the “rule of six” measure if punters are inside in spring.

It comes as:

  • Covid restrictions to ‘continue until daily cases drop below 1,000’
  • Office staff will work from home after easing of lockdown measures
  • Quick Covid tests to be sent to 400,000 homes and businesses a DAY
  • Children as young as 6 get first Oxford Covid vaccine in trial
  • UK and California Covid variants 'merge into mutated virus'

But specific details have not yet been decided by ministers who will meet before February 22 when the roadmap is revealed.

Industry insiders are hopeful the hospitality sector will make a quick recovery though and be back to normal by July – just five months away.

It was reported overnight that larger hotels would reopen first, with dining rooms kept closed, but ministers denied this.

The PM said he wants this lockdown to “be the last” and Brits will be keen to know how the third lockdown will start to soften – signalling a return to normal life.

Here, we look at the measures we know are likely to change.

PUBS

Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve outdoors in April if coronavirus cases continue to fall, as The Sun previously exclusively revealed.

The reopening of hospitality is being fast-tracked in a major boost to the blighted sector – and thirsty Brits.

A government source said: “We will hopefully be sipping pints in the spring sunshine sooner rather than later.”

The good news came as the UK’s Covid R rate fell below one nationwide for the first time since last July.

Hospitality had been earmarked to reopen in May, with only takeaway pints allowed in April.

But that has now been sped up in a major boost for the industry. A wider reopening for limited indoor mixing in pubs is still planned for May.

SCHOOLS

All schools in England could reopen on March 8 – a date which has been pencilled in by the government for weeks now.

Professor Neil Ferguson said all schools in England are set to welcome pupils back on that date as coronavirus cases are “halving” every two weeks.

The scientist said he felt “very surprised and encouraged by how quickly case numbers have been coming down in recent weeks”.

He said he feels it is “quite likely” that all schools in England will reopen in three weeks’ time.

The expert, dubbed Professor Lockdown, added: “First of all I’ve been very surprised and encouraged how case numbers have been coming down in recent weeks.

“What’s going to happen, quite likely, as the Prime Minister’s message is schools, maybe all schools, will reopen on March 8, we’ll see.”

STAYCATIONS

Brits could be allowed to take self-catered staycation breaks by Easter if the reproductive rate of the virus stays low.

Under Boris Johnson's road map for lifting Covid restrictions, the hospitality industry could open its doors again from the Easter weekend.

Government ministers are considering allowing families from the same household to go on holidays from the Easter break.

This means Brits would at least be able to enjoy a holiday in England while international travel is likely to still be on hold.

Bookings for popular destinations across the UK are already up, with many in the hospitality sector praying for a bumper season to end their covid woes.

But the plans would only happen if the crucial R-rate remains low up to April 2.

FOREIGN HOLIDAYS

Foreign holidays may be off for the rest of the year, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has warned.

He explained that until the entire country is vaccinated, travel restrictions are likely to remain in place.

Mr Shapps said travelling abroad would depend on "everybody having their vaccinations” in the UK – and potentially abroad.

When asked if travel restrictions will stay in place until everyone has had a vaccine, he said: "Yes."

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon was pessimistic about the chances of a foreign holiday this year, saying: "Restrictions on our ability to travel overseas is likely to be inescapable."

The news came as a blow to millions of holidaymakers who have already booked their trips this summer.

SHOPS

All shops in England could reopen at the end of March in plans to unlock that nation from the current coronavirus lockdown.

Early reports suggest retailers will be able to welcome back customers from next month.

All non-essential stores, such as homeware, clothes and toys shops, are currently closed under the restrictions.

Only essential retailers are allowed to stay open, including supermarkets, newsagents and bike stores.

But high street shops could reopen within weeks if Covid rates keep tumbling.

If infections are at an "acceptable level", the PM could give the green light for non-essential shops to open again towards the end of next month.

WEDDINGS

All weddings have been banned in this lockdown apart from in exceptional circumstances – such as deathbed nuptials.

But MPs wrote to the Prime Minister this week to demand he set out a clear timetable for when weddings can get back to normal.

They have written to Boris Johnson to urge him to play Cupid and let couples tie the knot next month.

Newlywed Tory MPs Esther McVey and Philip Davies joined the group of 13 backbenchers urging the PM to act.

The group wants Covid secure weddings to be given the go-ahead on March 8, alongside the reopening of schools.

Traditional, big weddings should be allowed to make a comeback in May, they say.

NIGHTCLUBS

Brits will have to wait until at least September before they can flock back to nightclubs, gigs, cinemas, and theatres, a minister has suggested.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi hinted venues that will need to mass test visitors won't be allowed to reopen until almost all the population is vaccinated.

And he also refused to rule out social distancing measures, like mask wearing and the 1 metre rule, carrying on well into the future.

The PM has earmarked fast lateral flow tests as a key way of getting larger venues open to the public again once lockdown is lifted.

Millions of tests, which return a result in half an hour, could be used every day in settings from workplaces to football stadiums.

Thousands of clubs and theatres across Britain have been unable to reopen since last March, and many are facing financial ruin.

HAIRCUTS

Ministers have remained tight-lipped about when close contact services, such as haircuts, might be allowed to open again.

Hairdressers were given priority to stay open in some top tier areas last year, before the full lockdown came into force.

Ministers are now pushing to reopen hairdressers and nail salons alongside shops to boost the nation’s spirits.

They say shaggy-haired Brits are getting increasingly fed up that they cannot even go for a trim in the lockdown.

Whitehall insiders want Boris Johnson to commit to reopening the beauty industry, alongside non-essential shops, a few weeks later.

One government insider told The Sun: “People are getting fed up at not being able to go for a haircut. It is about improving how people feel about themselves.”

SPORT

Brits could be allowed to socialise with pals outside and play sport in the first stage of the easing of the Covid lockdown.

Open-air contact will be prioritised in Boris Johnson’s planned reopening of England.

Reports suggest outdoor sports and socialising will be permitted first before the retail and hospitality sectors are reopened.

This means sports like tennis and golf will be allowed along with outdoor socialising in limited groups.

Team games such as football and other closer contact games may have to wait a little while longer.

Sports fans could also be sent Covid tests along with their tickets so they can watch major events including the Euros and Wimbledon again this summer.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Social distancing is set to remain in place and Boris Johnson is expected to bring back the Rule of Six outdoors for spring.

Meeting a pal for a coffee outside is set to be allowed on March 8 – but friends must continue to socially distance themselves.

The PM also wants to bring back the Rule of Six for outdoors — where the virus finds it far harder to spread.

Picnics are also on the cards for March 8 as Dominic Raab said vaccine data key to unlocking Britain was looking "pretty good."

Boris Johnson is poised to announce that people will be allowed to picnic in the park with a friend or their household.

Current rules mean people may only meet outdoors for exercise – while standing up.


 

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