Boris Johnson urges public to 'remain cautious' as England lockdown eases

28 March 2021, 22:32 | Updated: 29 March 2021, 05:54

Boris Johnson wished "the very best of luck" to people as organised sport returns in England
Boris Johnson wished "the very best of luck" to people as organised sport returns in England. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The Prime Minister has urged people to "remain cautious" as England’s lockdown eases and the country's 'stay at home' order is lifted.

Boris Johnson said he hoped for a “Great British summer of sport” as outdoor sports venues open and team sports resume from today.

Separately, in a clip posted on Twitter, he wished "the very best of luck" to those heading back to pitches, courts and fields.

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People can now use sports facilities including golf courses, tennis and basketball courts and outdoor swimming areas, while organised team sports has also returned.

Groups of six people or two households can meet outdoors, including in private gardens.

However, Mr Johnson warned, with a third wave of coronavirus under way in Europe, that people “must remain cautious”.

It comes as the Metropolitan Police warned against "complacency" and urged the public to "minimise" contact with others as rules are eased.

The PM, who will hold a coronavirus press conference on Monday, said: “I know how much people have missed the camaraderie and competition of organised sport, and how difficult it has been to restrict physical activities – especially for children.  

“So as teams return to outdoor pitches, courts, parks and fields, I hope today will kick-start a Great British summer of sport – with people of all ages reunited with teammates, and able to resume the activities they love.  

“I know many will welcome the increased social contact, with groups of six or two households now also able to meet outdoors.  

“But we must remain cautious, with cases rising across Europe and new variants threatening our vaccine rollout. Despite today’s easements, everyone must continue to stick to the rules, remember hands, face, space, and come forward for a vaccine when called.”

The England lockdown changes from Monday are:

  • Stay at home rule ends - People will be permitted to leave their houses without the need for an exemption, although people should still minimise travel and work from home where they can
  • Outdoor gatherings permitted - Groups of either six people or two households are permitted to meet outside, including in private gardens
  • Outdoor parent and child groups permitted - Groups of up to 15 parents will be able to meet outside, with children under five years old not counting towards the limit.
  • Outdoor sport facilities reopen - Outdoor sports facilities, including golf, tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools can reopen
  • Outdoor team sports allowed - Amateur sports can restart, as formally organised outdoor sports are permitted
  • Weddings can take place - Ceremonies can restart, but only with four guests in attendance
  • Outdoor protests

It is the second major easing of England's lockdown imposed in early January, with schools having been reopened to all pupils on March 8.

The next step in the roadmap to easing the lockdown is April 12, which is earmarked for non-essential shops to reopen and for outdoor hospitality, including pubs and restaurants.

It comes as the number of people to have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK passed 30 million, accounting for about 57% of all adults.

New figures published by the Government show 30,151,287 people have had a first dose, while 3,527,481 have now had two doses.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted that he was “absolutely thrilled”, adding: “When you get the call - get the jab.”