The Prime Minister has confirmed that the next stage of lockdown easing can go ahead.
At a press conference this evening (Monday), Boris Johnson said: “The net result of your efforts and of course the vaccine rollout is that I can today confirm that from Monday April 12, we will move to step two of our road map.
“Reopening shops, gyms, zoos, holiday campsites, personal care services like hairdressers and of course beer gardens and outdoor hospitality of all kinds.
“And on Monday 12, I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips.”
The changes mean that from 12 April:
- Non-essential retail can reopen
- Outdoor hospitality is allowed
- Personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons can resume
- Libraries, community centres and indoor leisure facilities can reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups)
- The rule of six or two households still applies and we can only spend time with those we don’t live with outside.
Extra safety measures
In response City of York Council revealed what measures it was planning for 12 April and beyond.
Extra measures introduced in the city will include:
- The installation of temporary public toilets, additional litter bins and additional cleaning taking place in the city centre
- Extending the Covid Support Marshalls programme until the end of June
- Submitting planning applications required for temporary managed outdoor spaces to help people see friends and family safely
- Making it easier for people to get tested, offering a collect option at our testing sites and opening up symptom-free testing to all adults and children of secondary school age and above.
Council leader Keith Aspden said: “We welcome today’s announcement, which will see us be able to return to many of the places we love.
“It has been made possible by our collective efforts over the past few months and we are hugely grateful to residents and businesses for their commitment to keeping our city safe.
“As a city we have proven time and time again that we look after each other and as well as saving lives, our efforts will now see us take steps back to normality as businesses begin reopening.
“Our local businesses need our support now more than ever, so I would urge everyone to shop local and visit the many fantastic shops and unique hospitality businesses we have all missed.”
Fiona Phillips, assistant director of Public Health said: “These changes mean we can get back to some of the things we have missed a lot, including hairdressers and our fantastic leisure, hospitality and retail businesses which make the city such a special place.
“We are working closely with businesses and our partners, who have been incredible throughout this pandemic, to prepare the city for the wider reopening and make sure protective measures are in place to keep people safe.”
But she warned: “Coronavirus is still present in our communities and we don’t want to waste the efforts and progress we have made over the past few months.
“Covid loves a crowd so please avoid them where you can and wear a face covering in busy public spaces and in our retail settings.”