Covid restrictions could be lifted by June 21 if strict conditions are met, Boris Johnson said this week.
Following the prime minister’s roadmap out of lockdown announcement on Monday, the leader of Norfolk County Council said: “Covid figures in Norfolk are going down but we are not complacent and want to ensure that this progress is maintained as lockdown eases.”
In welcoming the roadmap for giving “clarity on how lockdown can be eased, in stages, based on the data”, council leader Andrew Proctor pledged the authority would support schools in preparation for re-opening on Monday, March 8.
Mass testing and wider use of face masks is expected to be introduced in secondary schools.
The first stage of the roadmap from March 8 is for schools and colleges to re-open, outdoor after-school sports to continue, two people to be allowed to sit together outdoors and one regular visitor to be allowed in a care home.
From Monday, March 29, six people or two households will be allowed to meet outdoors, outdoor sports including golf and grassroots sport are set to return, outdoor pools to re-open and travel outside the local area could be allowed.
However, non-essential businesses such as clothes shops, beauticians and hair salons have to wait until Monday, April 12 at the earliest to welcome back customers along with gyms and indoor swimming pools.
Self contained holiday accommodation is also earmarked to re-open from this date.
Indoor hospitality businesses such as pubs, restaurants and hotels have to wait until Monday, May 17 at the earliest to re-open, along with cinemas and museums and up to 30 people to attend weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes. Holidays abroad will also not be allowed until at least May 17.
If the rate of infection continues to fall the government’s aim is for potentially a June 21 lifting of social contact restrictions and the re-opening of other closed businesses.
The government has said progress will depend on the continued vaccine rollout and its success, the rate of infection, and the impact of new variants of the virus.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss welcomed the roadmap and praised the “brilliant work done by all our NHS staff and volunteers to deliver the vaccine”.
She also praised teachers for their “tremendous work” in maintaining children’s education, the public for following the Covid rules, and all key workers who had worked throughout the pandemic.
“The decision in early 2020 to invest significantly in COVID-19 vaccine development means that the UK can now look towards a brighter future and much praise must go to the world leading team of scientists, business leaders and medical experts who have been working at pace on this programme,” she said.
North West Norfolk MP James Wild said in his column in today’s (Friday’s) Your Local Paper, the end “is in sight but after a long and painful journey let’s not rush and stumble”.