Millions of people in England get ready for lockdown easing tomorrow

11 April 2021, 12:07 | Updated: 11 April 2021, 12:36

People will be able to enjoy a return towards normality as pubs reopen outdoors and outdoor dining is allowed
People will be able to enjoy a return towards normality as pubs reopen outdoors and outdoor dining is allowed. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Millions of people are preparing to take the next step out of lockdown tomorrow when outdoor attractions, pub gardens, and hairdressers reopen.

Pints will be poured in pub gardens, diners can enjoy al-fresco restaurant meals and people will descend in their droves on hairdressers and barber shops in the major easing of England's coronavirus lockdown on Monday.

Non-essential retail, as well as indoor gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen as people's lives take another leap back towards normality along the road map to ending restrictions.

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Members of staff take part in a menu tasting at Gambas Tapas Bar in Wapping Wharf, Bristol, as they prepare to reopen for outdoor dining
Members of staff take part in a menu tasting at Gambas Tapas Bar in Wapping Wharf, Bristol, as they prepare to reopen for outdoor dining. Picture: PA

In London, most of the West End will be closed off to traffic to allow the night time economy to start coming back with a bang.

However landlords around the country have warned the 'vast majority' of pubs will stay shut because they do not have a beer garden.

Retailers have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on measures designed to prevent the transmission of Covid, including safety glass, queue management systems, social distancing signage, better ventilation, and more frequent cleaning.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has calculated non-food stores have lost £30 billion in foregone sales over the three lockdowns.

A department store worker prepares for the big reopening tomorrow
A department store worker prepares for the big reopening tomorrow. Picture: PA

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "Consumers appear to be more confident about visiting shops, showing that the safety measures put in place are clearly helping to make shoppers feel more comfortable visiting and returning to stores.

"Savings have been building up over lockdown, and the economic recovery relies on retailers being able to unlock the pent-up demand in the economy."

A client has their hair worked on at The Salon in Leeds
A client has their hair worked on at The Salon in Leeds. Picture: PA

Libraries, zoos and nail salons will also reopen as greater outdoor interaction is permitted while mixing with other households indoors remains heavily restricted.

Businesses and citizens eagerly anticipated the renewed freedoms, but any fanfare has been somewhat muted by the national mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh.

Boris Johnson postponed his celebratory pint and Government communications have been pared back to just essential messages after Philip's death at the age of 99 on Friday.

Wales will also see freedoms returned, with non-essential retail reopening and border restrictions eased to permit travel again with the rest of the UK and Ireland.

Remaining school pupils will return to face-to-face teaching in Wales and Northern Ireland, moves being echoed in Scotland as pupils return from their Easter breaks.

The "stay at home" order in Northern Ireland will also end as the number of people permitted to meet outdoors rises from six to 10.

In England, after months of being closed, pubs and restaurants have undertaken renovations to maximise their ability to serve customers outside.

But the British Beer and Pub Association estimates that just 40% of pubs in England have the space to reopen for outdoor service.

Both the 10pm curfew rule and the requirement to order a substantial meal with a drink have been scrapped, but social distancing must be abided by.

Domestic holidays can resume to an extent, with overnight stays permitted in self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets and campsites where indoor facilities are not shared.

But these can only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.

International holidays remain banned until an unknown date, amid a row over the cost of testing plans to assist their return.

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People will not be allowed to visit each others' homes, with inside socialising continuing to be prohibited.

The quiet from Government during the period of national mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh means only essential public health measures are to be communicated.

Mr Johnson was no longer expected to issue a statement to mark the moment.

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It will be the third in a series of easings since the third national lockdown was legally imposed in England on January 6.

The next date earmarked on the road map is May 17, when socialising indoors will be permitted under the "rule of six" if the Prime Minister judges that the vaccination programme is safely breaking the link between infections and deaths.

After three months of full national lockdown, the Government said on Saturday that a further 40 people had died in the UK within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test. A further 2,589 lab-confirmed cases were also announced.

More than 60% of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to official figures stating that 32 million people have received a jab.