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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has laid out his lockdown exit strategy, with a number of key dates now in the calendar for when life may look a tad more normal, with fewer restrictions in place.
Under the new roadmap, Brits will be able to see friends and family at garden parties and barbecues by Easter, providing they remain outdoors at all times.
The PM's lockdown plan is divided into four key stages, which will see lockdown restrictions eased in stages (providing it is safe to do so) until June 21 when potentially all measures and rules would have been lifted.
Schools will be the first to return on March 8, with pupils being tested twice a week for the virus to try and halt any spike in cases before it becomes out of control.
Lockdown rules for Easter
March 29 is the next date we could see restrictions eased, with the potential return of the 'rule of six', which allows either up to six people from different households, or two households with more than six members, to meet outdoors.
This comes just in time for Easter over the April 4 weekend, when gatherings in private gardens will be allowed.
From March 29, the 'stay at home' messaging issued from the government will be scrapped in place of a more simple message for all Brits – 'minimise travel'.
This means that though the public will be advised to meet up with friends and family while remaining local – it will not be illegal to travel to see relatives outdoors further afield.
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Throughout every meet-up with a friend or family member in this period, it is vital both parties remain in a safe, outdoors environment while also socially distanced. If case numbers begin to grow, the PM has already warned the easing of restrictions will be reviewed and potentially halted.
The lockdown roadmap has urged people to minimise the rate in which they see others, even if it is outdoors, "wherever possible". The roadmap goes on to state: "It will remain critical with most people still unprotected by vaccines – that people continue to follow the guidance, use common sense and socially distance from other households."
The Easter period could also see the return of organised team sport, as the ban on participating in them will be lifted on March 29.
Boris Johnson's four tests that will decide when lockdown can end
Matt Hancock has already urged the public to follow the rules in place to ensure the dates pinpointed for easing measures in the roadmap can be met: "Right now we need to keep doing what we're doing and staying home to make sure we can keep the rates coming down as we roll the vaccine programme out.
"This is only possible because of the vaccine roadmap which has been amazing, but it's also vital everybody plays their part as they have been doing during lockdown."
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Currently, the ruling states how any 'non-essential travel' is not permitted and it is strongly advised to remain local.
However, after March 29, that ruling is set to be scrapped and there will be no travel restrictions when travelling within the UK.
An update on when it could be deemed safe to travel abroad for things like summer holidays is not set to come until May – so you should not travel abroad for a holiday at Easter.
- Boris Johnson
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