When does lockdown end - and what happens afterwards?

7 July 2021, 15:11

Boris Johnson wants this to be the last time England is in lockdown
Boris Johnson wants this to be the last time England is in lockdown. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

The end of England's lockdown looks close with ministers confident the fourth and final step of rules being relaxed can go ahead.

The third national lockdown was implemented in January, after the faster-spreading Kent, or Alpha, variant was identified as driving new cases.

The roadmap has seen one delay, with step four, previously slated for June 21, pushed back into this month.

Here is when lockdown is now slated to end, and what England's rules will be after 'Freedom Day'.

When will lockdown end?

Step four is expected to go ahead on July 19, which was pushed back from June 21.

The Government wanted more time to get people vaccinated with both doses given the spread of the Delta variant in the UK, which is thought to be more transmissible.

The confirmation of step four is expected on July 12, when Boris Johnson is set to address the nation.

Read more: What did Boris Johnson announce about July 19? Key points the PM outlined

Read more: Will social distancing end on July 19? The latest Covid rules explained

What happens next?

Boris Johnson has already outlined his plan for what England will look like after the final easing of lockdown.

He has said legal requirements about social distancing will be dispensed in favour of people making their own decisions and taking responsibility about their own actions.

Legal limits on how many people can meet inside or outside will go, businesses including nightclubs can reopen their doors and the cap on named visitors to care homes will go.

Read more: 'Come and party with us': Business leaders react to July 19 plans

The Government will stop instructing people to work from home, with employers expected to ensure the work place is safe to return to.

No limit will be imposed on audiences at sport events, concerts or theatres either.

The one-metre plus social distancing rule will also end, and face mask wearing will become voluntary.

However, Mr Johnson said guidance will suggest where it might be appropriate, such as on public transport.

Covid certificates will not be required, either, though businesses and events can choose to make use of them.

The only stay-at-home requirement set to remain is for some people who will need to self-isolate after August 16.

Fully-vaccinated people – those who have had at least two weeks since their second jab – will not need to isolate if they come into contact with a case, but will instead be asked to take a test.

Children under 18 will not need to isolate either – however, anyone who tests positive, including the fully vaccinated, will still need to isolate.

What about travel?

Updates on self-isolation after travelling are still expected but the Government is expected to set out if fully-vaccinated people can avoid quarantining on return from amber list countries.

Under current rules, anyone who flies in from an amber list country must isolate and take two tests after arriving, but the quarantine part of those rules may stop applying to people who've had two jabs.

Will there be any more lockdowns?

Boris Johnson has said he wants the easing of lockdown to be irreversible.

But he warned that the Government will retain "contingency measures", with some experts concerned about a higher risk of Covid and a flu resurgence in the winter.

Nothing has been confirmed, however.

"We will continue to monitor the data and retain contingency measures to help manage the virus during higher risk periods such as the winter, but we will place an emphasis on strengthened guidance and do everything possible to avoid reimposing restrictions with all the costs that they bring," Mr Johnson said.