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22nd February - Roadmap out of the pandemic, lifting of restrictions.

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Huntergreed

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With one week to go, what are your hopes, worries and predictions surrounding next week’s roadmap out of the pandemic? When do you think different restrictions are likely to be lifted and what do you think is the correct pace towards normality?

Personally, I’m feeling optimistic. I’m confident schools will reopen on March 8th in England and, slowly but surely, restrictions will be mostly lifted by June/July.

The biggest uncertainties are, I feel:

The removal of distancing requirements

The removal of mask laws

The scrapping of track and trace

I believe quarantine will remain in some form for the remainder of the year. To protect against new variants.
 
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brad465

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The presence of the local elections and the influence of the CRG gives me reason to believe restrictions will be lifted fairly swiftly through to the end of May, however the removal of social distancing is the big concern for me, in terms of whether or not the conditions for its removal will be set out. I'm expecting working from home guidance to be dropped around the same time social distancing would be, given its existence doesn't cause much inconvenience for those affected.
 

NorthOxonian

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I think the roadmap will really leave us wanting. He's essentially said that he's not going to give dates, and that he's going to lean towards being cautious.

I think schools will open on March 8th, and hopefully outdoor recreation and non-essential travel will be allowed then.

I'd like to see retail and hospitality open up by early April, purely because I'd like to have a pint on my birthday which is just after Easter Monday. But I think we'll just get retail - maybe outdoor hospitality if we're very lucky. I don't expect to get a date for indoor hospitality but if one is given, I'd bet on it being April 23rd to coincide with St George's Day, that's the sort of symbolic thing we know Johnson loves.

Things like being able to meet up with people indoors as seen in the old Tier 1 should come after that, ideally around the end of April or May.

I don't expect any dates for things like mask easing or removal of social distancing. I think a reasonable date would be after all of Groups 1-9 and a decent chunk of the rest of us have been given their first dose and Groups 1-4 their second as well, which would probably be in early June, but scientists and their ilk will fight that tooth and nail. I expect to get more of an indication of when we'll do these things in early May, with the reveal timed for just before the biggest local elections in decades.
 

Class 33

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I'm sure I saw a headline somewhere earlier today that mentioned that the "roadmap" will give estimated dates when EACH restriction can be lifted. In that case then, the roadmap will give estimated dates when social distancing and face mask wearing are to be scrapped? But I'll believe that when I see it. As I mentioned in the other thread, I expect chances are there will be no mention in this road map announced on the 22nd as to the estimated dates when social distancing and face mask wearing requirements will be scrapped! And if so, there will then within days be an absolute flood of festival cancelations announced, in particular the ones that are planned for May and June. The whole summer's festival and events industry could well be (very unfairly this time, compared to the situation we were in last year) wiped out for the second year in a row.

I'd be content if social distancing is finally scrapped by early June or even as late as early July. But if it's still going on beyond then, then I will not be atall happy. There will just be no valid justification for it to continue beyond then.
 

Gloster

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Just getting it right, or at least fairly nearly, would be nice. But that is probably too much to ask as it requires politicians to put aside their egos and cravings for popularity, and listen to people who know more than they do.
 

Peter0124

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These are just my predictions and hopes in terms of travel:

On March 8th I'm predicting that non essential travel will become guidance again and be advised against, but we will still be allowed to do it.

By Easter the advise against travel will be removed.

By May, I predict hotels will be open and that you will be allowed to stay overnight and also in another household. Timetables I'm hoping should also return to at-least 90% of pre-pandemic particularly on leisure routes.

And by July, hopefully social distancing / masks are scrapped.
 

westv

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The three dates I am interested in are:-

When can we go back to sit down in restaurants/cafes?
When will I have to cart myself back to the office?
When can we dump masks?
 

kristiang85

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I really want set metrics to all measures being removed, right down to social distancing and masks, and target dates for this to happen. Then I can finally plan for the summer - mainly my wedding, which has been on hold for months now and with 5 months to go, I will have to postpone until next year if there is any overriding uncertainty.

I also hope to meet friends for a pint at Easter. That would be lovely.

And some indication of an end date for the ridiculous international travel restrictions too.

It seems like a lot to ask, but all I want is some kind of certainty of when I'll get the life back I had only a year ago. Which, to be honest, isn't actually that much to ask for.

My predictions? I really don't know. But given how often this goverment have swerved actual questions and responsibilities, I'm not holding out much optimism for the clear path I'm hoping for. I hope I'm pleasantly surprised.
 

Bikeman78

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With one week to go, what are your hopes, worries and predictions surrounding next week’s roadmap out of the pandemic? When do you think different restrictions are likely to be lifted and what do you think is the correct pace towards normality?

Personally, I’m feeling optimistic. I’m confident schools will reopen on March 8th in England and, slowly but surely, restrictions will be mostly lifted by June/July.

The biggest uncertainties are, I feel:

The removal of distancing requirements

The removal of mask laws

The scrapping of track and trace

I believe quarantine will remain in some form for the remainder of the year. To protect against new variants.
I wouldn't get your hopes up about masks. I was surprised to learn that they have them in Australia.
 

duncanp

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I don't expect to get a date for indoor hospitality but if one is given, I'd bet on it being April 23rd to coincide with St George's Day, that's the sort of symbolic thing we know Johnson loves.

Things like being able to meet up with people indoors as seen in the old Tier 1 should come after that, ideally around the end of April or May.

I don't expect any dates for things like mask easing or removal of social distancing. I think a reasonable date would be after all of Groups 1-9 and a decent chunk of the rest of us have been given their first dose and Groups 1-4 their second as well, which would probably be in early June, but scientists and their ilk will fight that tooth and nail. I expect to get more of an indication of when we'll do these things in early May, with the reveal timed for just before the biggest local elections in decades.

I mentioned St George's Day as a reopening date for indoor hopsitality elsewhere on these forums, so perhaps it might happen.

The cynic in me also suspects that some of the dates in the roadmap might be deliberately later than the most likely date, in order that Boris Johnson can magically pull a rabbit out of the hat and announce something like "..due to the excellent progress in the roll out of the vaccine we can bring forward the reopening date for <insert setting of your choice> from <old date> to <new date>". Boris Johnson is wary of "over promising and under delivering" so the roadmap, or at least the version which is published, might be set up to enable him to "under promise and over deliver".

I wouldn't be in the least surprised, for example, to see the progress of the vaccine rollout amongst categories 5 - 9 being used as an excuse to make an announcement of a confirmed date for the reopening of indoor hospitality shortly after Easter, with the reopening date set for somewhere between St George's Day and the date of the local elections. No doubt suitable "data" will magically emerge just at the right moment to facilitate this.

My expectation is the following:-
  • Schools will reopen on March 8th, possibly on a part time basis at first.
  • Non essential retail at the end of March. Hymn singing in church might be allowed from Easter Sunday.
  • Outdoor hospitality, gyms and leisure centres from the Easter weekend
  • Indoor hospitality from the end of April or during the first half of May, with a confirmed date given before the local elections for political reasons.
  • Some easing of the restrictions on household mixing towards the end of March.
As for international travel, I would expect restrictions to be eased once the majority of adults have had at least their first vaccination. The government won't want to be see to allow the over 50s to jet off to the sun after Easter, whilst unvaccinated younger people are confined to staying in the UK. When international travel is allowed will also depend on negotiations with other countries, particularly the countries in the Schengen zone. There is no point the government allowing us to travel abroad if other countries won't let us in.

Masks and social distancing probably won't be scrapped fully until enough adults have had two doses of the vaccine for herd immunity to set in. This is more likely to happen later in the summer, say around July or August, but that is not to say that the restrictions will not be progressivley loosened before then. It is correct that the scientists are fighting tooth and nail for these restrictions to be retained "for some time to come", and they are leaking scary stories about "possible" new variants spreading amongst unvaccinated people, with these variants "possibly" being resistant to existing vaccines.
 

DelayRepay

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Much of the talk is about re-opening of pubs and shops and, whilst I think those dates are important, I am also keen to see some lifting on the restrictions on social gatherings.

I do not expect to be able to have a house party with 100 people any time soon, but it would be nice to be able to legally go to my mum's for a cup of tea. Hopefully this will be allowed, even if there is still a restriction on the number of households and/or something like last year's 'rule of six'. Being able to mix with just one other household, without needing to be in a support bubble, would mean the world to me at the moment. Vaccines make this much safer as the vulnerable will be protected. If there is a household where vulnerable people, for whatever reason, have not been vaccinated, then they can make their own decisions about whether to mix or not.

I really hope these very harsh rules about socialising are relaxed, and the roadmap isn't just focused on the economy, as important as the economy is.

I don't think we'll see a date for Social Distancing, Face Coverings or Working from Home guidance being scrapped. I think these things will just slowly die a death over the summer and the legislation for Face Coverings will just be allowed to expire.
 

Snow1964

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I suspect primary schools will go back 8 March
Many others restrictions will fade out May-June

Ignoring the didn’t we do well political fluff, you always get with Johnson, the reality is numbers in hospital with Covid falling >1000 per day so will be down to about 13000 by 22nd (a third of the peak), about 18m of the most vulnerable will have been vaccinated at least once.

Short term until late April) Probably the danger areas are 50-65 year olds for serious illness, and 15-35 year olds for spreading it, and drunkenness, so I foresee an a temporary evening alcohol curfew, but pubs reopening
 

yorksrob

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"Stay at home" needs to go first and foremost and ASAP. Outdoor socialising needs to be hot on the heels of its demise.

Following that, I'm most interested in hospitality reopening, socialising in indoor hospitality settings and being able to stay overnight elsewhere.
 

Philip

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I cannot see pubs reopening on any significant day/event. This is just asking for trouble right from the start. I think it'll be a 'quiet one' as far as the opening of pubs and restaurants is concerned; not on a significant day, possibly a working Monday and probably with strict limitations to start with like table service only; no more than say 3 people together; restricted opening hours, face coverings when not sat at the table. I think a week after Easter weekend is possible, depending on progress in the key areas, but given the 'cautious' rhetoric from Johnson yesterday, it's very possible they might give it another month and go for the day after the first May BH Monday as the reopening date.
Either way, I can see the strict conditions for opening I mentioned above remaining in place until probably the end of May, then they'll review it and gradually ease the restrictions from that point onwards if they're happy with things.

Schools very likely to be 8th March, 'stay at home'/'essential travel only' will hopefully also be dropped for that date, and then cafes and non-essential retail to reopen a couple of weeks after that.
 

6862

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I suspect we will be told that schools might open in early March. Possibly shops reopening early April? I don't expect we will hear anything regarding hospitality reopening (as hospitality is the government's favourite economic punchbag) or allowing socialising with friends and family (as restricting this is arguably what keeps the feelings of fear and depression greatest among the population).
 

Ianno87

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Priorities for me are schools reopening, travel for leisure and indoor socialising.
 
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Probably be quite a long way down the list, but I’d like to see some progress towards allowing limited or controlled attendance at sporting events and live theatre.
 

philosopher

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I suspect we will be told that schools might open in early March. Possibly shops reopening early April? I don't expect we will hear anything regarding hospitality reopening (as hospitality is the government's favourite economic punchbag) or allowing socialising with friends and family (as restricting this is arguably what keeps the feelings of fear and depression greatest among the population).
Personally I am not expecting restrictions similar to Tier 1 in which all pubs can open and the rule of six indoors is permitted until May at the earliest.
 

nlogax

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I'm not expecting too much. The higher the number of people in a single place the more the governmental fudge factor will apply in any roadmap.

That said.. pubs and restaurants reopening would be a great start, especially with mixed households. What I really want is the return of international travel but that's not really the UK government's gift to give - it's down to the governments of those other countries to drop their border restrictions (Canada, US and Germany are on this year's wishlist for me).
 

duncanp

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Personally I am not expecting restrictions similar to Tier 1 in which all pubs can open and the rule of six indoors is permitted until May at the earliest.

You might have pubs reopening towards the end of April or the beginning of May with restrictions similar to Tier 2, but no 10pm closing time or silly rules about substantial meals. Then the rules for pubs could be relaxed to something like Tier 1 in time for the bank holiday at the end of May, with any remaining restrictions relaxed progressively over the summer.

I suspect we will be told that schools might open in early March. Possibly shops reopening early April? I don't expect we will hear anything regarding hospitality reopening (as hospitality is the government's favourite economic punchbag) or allowing socialising with friends and family (as restricting this is arguably what keeps the feelings of fear and depression greatest among the population).

I don't think the government can ignore the reopening of hospitality or indoor socialising. What is being published next Monday is a roadmap out of lockdown (or so we are led to believe) and without giving a least a rough indication of when these activities might resume, or the conditions that need to be met for these activities to resume, then it is a roadmap out of lockdown in name only.
 

Yew

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We need a significantly faster timeline with those proposed, enough is enough.
 

chris11256

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To be honest I'm not expecting anything concrete, I'm sure it'll be as vague and generic as possible to allow for the fourth lockdown. I think we'll have retail and outdoor dining in April, but doing anything indoors(hospitality or socialising with friends/family) will remain closed for months because of government panic about transmission and new variant popping up.

Sadly I don't think it's going to be anywhere near as quick as the weekend paper reports suggested, Boris yesterday kept talking about needing cases to be extremely low before we can think about easing and even letting cases rise amongst young peple would increase the risk to the vulnerable.
 

yorksrob

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You might have pubs reopening towards the end of April or the beginning of May with restrictions similar to Tier 2, but no 10pm closing time or silly rules about substantial meals. Then the rules for pubs could be relaxed to something like Tier 1 in time for the bank holiday at the end of May, with any remaining restrictions relaxed progressively over the summer.

That would be a good start, and I would take it if it meant that reopening could occur earlier than would otherwise have been.
 

Yew

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To be honest I'm not expecting anything concrete, I'm sure it'll be as vague and generic as possible to allow for the fourth lockdown. I think we'll have retail and outdoor dining in April, but doing anything indoors(hospitality or socialising with friends/family) will remain closed for months because of government panic about transmission and new variant popping up.

Sadly I don't think it's going to be anywhere near as quick as the weekend paper reports suggested, Boris yesterday kept talking about needing cases to be extremely low before we can think about easing and even letting cases rise amongst young peple would increase the risk to the vulnerable.
Once the vulnerable have been vaccinated, who cares about case numbers.
 

yorksrob

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I think that the public has it within its own power to push the agenda. When people start socialising amongst themselves in the good weather, it becomes pointless keeping things shut down.
 

py_megapixel

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I'm not really too bothered by track and trace existing, but I don't think it's a good idea for it to be mandatory to follow their instructions. I think if it increases public confidence to have it around, track and trace should be retained for a reasonably long time, but with the legal requirement to isolate if told removed.

I think I'd rather retain social distancing than masks. I get the argument that social distancing prevents theatre and live sporting events from happening, but do people really want to sit through a 2 hour performance in a mask? No!
I find keeping away from others an awful lot more natural than wearing a mask.

Of course there are other cases where social distancing might not be possible - lifts in shopping centres, for example.
I'd like the rules to be entirely "masks are required in any indoor area where you cannot reasonably allow 1 to 2 metres between each person", but I can't think of a way to stop business owners not even trying to implement social distancing and just insisting on masks because it's easier.

You might have pubs reopening towards the end of April or the beginning of May with restrictions similar to Tier 2, but no 10pm closing time or silly rules about substantial meals. Then the rules for pubs could be relaxed to something like Tier 1 in time for the bank holiday at the end of May, with any remaining restrictions relaxed progressively over the summer.
That would be a good start, and I would take it if it meant that reopening could occur earlier than would otherwise have been.
I strongly disagree with prioritising pubs over other entertainment.

If pubs open in April/May, then I would want restaurants, cinemas, amusement arcades, sports centres and so on open as well. And - crucially - non-essential use of public transport.

Not everybody's idea of a nice day out is to get in a car and go to the pub, and not everyone has the money to do so.
 

PTR 444

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My hopes:
  • Universities reopen for independent study at the same time as schools on March 8th.
  • Outdoor leisure such as golf and tennis is also permitted from that date.
  • Hairdressers reopen on the anniversary of the first lockdown, along with the easing of domestic travel and household mixing restrictions.
  • Pubs and hospitality reopen around Easter.
  • International travel allowed from May to countries with low infection rates and no requirement for hotel quarantine upon return.
  • Rule of 6, face masks and distancing scrapped at the beginning of June, with nightclubs and festivals allowed to reopen later that month.
My predictions:
  • Schools reopen on March 8th, followed by outdoor leisure, mixing of up to two households outdoors and removal of the stay at hone message later in March.
  • Non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms reopen at the beginning of April, along with pubs and restaurants serving outdoors only without alcohol.
  • Full reopening of pubs, limited number of spectators at stadiums and indoor household mixing permitted from May.
  • Any further easing likely to be announced at a later date.
This would take us to the equivalent of tier 1 by June. I think realistically there will be restrictions on mass gatherings and international travel until cases get down to a very low level in all UK nations, and in the latter case dependent on how well other countries progress with their vaccine rollout.
 

Huntergreed

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My hopes:
  • Universities reopen for independent study at the same time as schools on March 8th.
  • Outdoor leisure such as golf and tennis is also permitted from that date.
  • Hairdressers reopen on the anniversary of the first lockdown, along with the easing of domestic travel and household mixing restrictions.
  • Pubs and hospitality reopen around Easter.
  • International travel allowed from May to countries with low infection rates and no requirement for hotel quarantine upon return.
  • Rule of 6, face masks and distancing scrapped at the beginning of June, with nightclubs and festivals allowed to reopen later that month.
My predictions:
  • Schools reopen on March 8th, followed by outdoor leisure, mixing of up to two households outdoors and removal of the stay at hone message later in March.
  • Non-essential retail along with hairdressers and gyms reopen at the beginning of April, along with pubs and restaurants serving outdoors only without alcohol.
  • Full reopening of pubs, limited number of spectators at stadiums and indoor household mixing permitted from May.
  • Any further easing likely to be announced at a later date.
This would take us to the equivalent of tier 1 by June. I think realistically there will be restrictions on mass gatherings and international travel until cases get down to a very low level in all UK nations, and in the latter case dependent on how well other countries progress with their vaccine rollout.
I would dispute that cases will even need to get to a low level. As the vaccine is rolled out and immunity is widespread, cases don’t matter (unless we, foolishly, go for zero-COVID, which would be a disastrous mistake)
 

yorksrob

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I strongly disagree with prioritising pubs over other entertainment.

If pubs open in April/May, then I would want restaurants, cinemas, amusement arcades, sports centres and so on open as well. And - crucially - non-essential use of public transport.

Not everybody's idea of a nice day out is to get in a car and go to the pub, and not everyone has the money to do so.

I wouldn't say it's a matter of either/or.

If anything, I think that pubs are the whipping boy amongst certain sectors of the establishment, and are more likely to remain closed/constricted after those other things you mention have been reopened.

In terms of travel, my policy since the first lockdown has been that if something's permitted and I have to travel to it, I will travel to it.
 

ChrisC

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Definitely schools to reopen as soon as possible probably from 8th March. This could be a phased reopening with primary schools opening first.
The stay at home and local exercise advice should go early in March too to enable days out and walking in other locations. Along with this general relaxing of rules about people meeting outside, I don’t see any problems with people meeting others outside if some degree of social distancing is observed.
I can’t see any reasons why by Easter non essential shops, museums, National Trust properties etc shouldn’t open and also eating and drinking outside. Also other outdoor activities and outdoor sports back to normal.
Certainly by the beginning of May I would hope that we are back to what we had last summer with overnight stays allowed and hotels, self catering cottages etc open, and also pubs and restaurants. Initially with the same social distancing and safety measures in place as last summer.
Following by about June/July, when all the over 50s have received their second vaccinations, a gradual relaxing of restrictions to allow general indoor household mixing and social distancing and mask wearing to be gradually reduced.
I don’t know about large gatherings including theatres, concerts, festivals and shows, football stadiums etc. I’m really missing going to the theatre and concerts and would hope that these can open again this summer.

I know with the above suggestions I am being far more cautious than many others here, but I do want this to be the last lockdown, and for us at least to get this right. I’d rather be a bit cautious and delay things by a few weeks than to rush into things quickly and then the scientists start shouting out and this government panics and we end up having lots of restrictions returned by the autumn.

I think my only concern at the moment are about those small areas of the country, especially in the Midlands, where infection rates, hospital admissions and death rates are still relatively high. Most of the country has rates falling quite rapidly now but there are a few areas like Nottinghamshire where things do seem to have plateaued a bit these last few weeks and at best they are only falling very slowly.
 
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