What does Boris' statement mean?
February 2021 Edition

Josh Brunning · 20:00 Monday, 22 February 2021

This announcement applies to England only

As I write this post the PM is this on his feet in the House of Commons answering questions from MPs. The press release is available here and the text of his statement is here or the video is available below.

Stage 1 - 8 March

The first relaxation of lockdown will be on 8 March, when all schools will return. The PM said that pupils in Year 7 (11-12 year olds) and above (including collage and university students) will be tested twice each week.

In addition, people will be allowed to meet someone else (from another household) for reasons other than exercise (as is the case currently). Care home residents will be able to have one visitor who can now see them regularly. A wider range of campaigning activities for the local elections on 6 May (register to vote here if you’re eligible).

Stage 1b - 29 March

At the start of the Easter holidays, the Rule of Six will apply outdoors again1 and “outdoor sports facilities” can reopen. Also, “formally organised outdoor sports” can restart “subject to guidance.” At this point the legal requirement to “Stay at Home” will be lifted but people will be advised to continue working from home and continue to minimise travel.

Stage 2 - 12 April (at the earliest)

The government’s five tests from May have been replaced with four new tests.

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  • Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

The review period has been extended to 5 weeks (it was previously 3) to see the impact of the changes on the data and to give a week’s notice of the changes. So these changes will be confirmed or pushed back on or before 5 April.

Stage 2 will see non-essential retail reopen (e.g. hairdressers and nail salons), indoor leisure facilities (e.g. gyms and holiday-lets) as well as the outdoor seating areas of pus and restaurants (</scotch_egg_debate>). Zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas, libraries and community centres can also re-open.

Stage 3 - 17 May (at the earliest)

The list of venues given by the PM that can reopen was:

  • The indoor areas of pubs and restaurants;
  • Cinemas;
  • Children’s play areas;
  • Hotels, hostels, and B&Bs;
  • Theatres;
  • Concert Halls;
  • Sports Stadia (subject to capacity limits).

The PM also announced that there will be pilots of larger events “using enhanced testing.”

Stage 4 - 21 June (at the earliest)

This is the earliest date when legal limits on social contact will be lifted and “everything up to and including nightclubs” will be able to reopen.

Closing Remarks


The PM set out four reviews around:

  • How long we need to maintain social distancing, continue wearing masks, and working from home
  • International Travel (which will report by 12 April)
  • Potential “Covid-status certification” to help venues reopen
  • Major events

Other Things

  • Free test kits for workplaces will continue until the end of June
  • The Budget is next Wednesday
  • “We must remain alert to the constant mutations of the virus”
  • An updated plan for dealing with local outbreaks will be published next month

Further Reading

  1. or two households 

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