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COVID-19: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Lockdown Reduction Plan Explained

© REUTERS / TOBY MELVILLEBritain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves as he goes for a walk in Central London following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves as he goes for a walk in Central London following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville - Sputnik International
The UK government has released a 50-page strategy document, dubbed ‘Our Plan to Rebuild’, which outlines a broad program for the eventual roll-back of coronavirus lockdown measures.

The first changes in “step one” of the process will be introduced 13th May.


Anyone who can’t work from home should now consider travelling to work if their workplace is open, and workers are asked to cycle or walk to their workplaces if and where possible, or travel by car, to reduce public transport usage. Employers are also asked to create more car and bike parking spaces and provide changing rooms so staff can change clothes for work.


Schools will remain closed, although local councils are asked to encourage vulnerable pupils and children of critical workers to attend in any event.


Local authorities are recommended to widen pavements, create pop-up cycle lanes and employ road closures in major civilian centres - although a removal of all limits on outdoor exercise means citizens can leave their homes as many times a day as they like, but remain precluded from using playgrounds, outdoor gyms and the like. Moreover, individuals can exercise with up to one person from outside their household - so no team sports unless every participant lives with one another.


As long as you adhere to the two-metre physical distancing rules, you can meet up with one person from outside your household, like a friend or relative, in a public place. 

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Britons can now frive to an outdoor place no matter how far from your homestead, as long as they adhere to physical distancing restrictions. However, rules vary in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - as a result, the English shouldn’t travel to parts of the UK not following Boris Johnson’s “step one” plan.

Masks n’ All

While face masks aren’t legally mandatory, individuals are encouraged to don them on public transport and in retail outlets if possible.

Step Two

Slackening of measures in this phase not only explicitly applies to England only, but is contingent on the attendant risk level at the time - while Whitehall aims for 1st June to implement this loosening, this remains an open question, and there will be 48 hours’ notice of any changes.


Schools are requested to open up for more pupils from 1st June, with the earliest years set to return in smaller classes. Secondary schools could begin face-to-face contact for those pupils which have significant exams next year. 


Non-essential shops could begin reopening from 1st June on a phased basis, although pubs, cafes, restaurants and beauty services are precluded given the risk of transmission in these environments is higher.


Whitehall says it wishes to reduce the most harmful effects of current social restrictions, while limiting risk of chains of transmission. One proposed measure for achieving this is allowing two households to share childcare to create a “social bubble”, another is allowing small weddings.

Step Three

The reopening of all pubs, restaurants, barbers, beauty salons, places of worship and cinema in the UK will be considered 4th July, if all five of the government's tests are met and scientific advice indicates further changes are acceptable.

The tests are as follows; ensuring the NHS can cope with in-patients and continues to have sufficient capacity; a ‘sustained and consistent’ fall in daily deaths; reliable data indicating infection rate is decreasing to manageable levels; avoiding a second surge in the virus’ spread that overwhelms the NHS.

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