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

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Personally the big one for me is Gyms re-opening. Living in a first floor flat with no garden hasn't been so hard during the winter but once the temperature starts increasing and the days start getting longer it will get progressively more difficult. The key thing is that most gym users want the gyms to stay open so will comply with the things like cleaning equipment, booking slots and reduced numbers. Therefore as long as those messages are retained at least in the short team then I can't see what the big issue is.
 
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Class 33

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Social distancing to never be removed? If that's to be the case then I feel just what is the point of continuing with life? I for one won't be able to take this nonsense continuing forever! It takes away a lot of the good things in life. Practically ZERO chance of finding a job again. This measure alone is extremely damaging for my mental health. I may as well as just give up if it's to continue forever!
 

david1212

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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.

You have saved me typing my predictions up to the beginning of May as they are the same.

Following on I would add unlimited UK travel, no restrictions on staying away from home so hotels and holiday accommodation open and leisure / heritage / tourism all open for the May Bank Holiday weekend - this year the BH is on the 31st.

I would like to see compulsory masks go too not least as there effectiveness is very debatable. While I'm not sure if it would work or lead to ultimately verbal and even physical abuse a halfway house would be ' Strongly recommended i.e. expected indoors where close contact with others is more than momentary '

This leaves the places where there is prolonged indoor mixing with minimal distancing and often limited air circulation e.g. theatres, cinemas, night clubs that have not been open since last March and private parties e.g. full blown wedding receptions with an unlimited number of guests rather than just a sit down meal for say 30.

As I posted on the ' New lockdown in England, including school closures, announced by Johnson, 4/1/21 ' thread while the positive case numbers / R number will inevitably rise with all the over 50's and vulnerable having had their first vaccine jab by the end of April hospital admissions ought to rise at a far lower rate.
 
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MikeWM

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Social distancing to never be removed? If that's to be the case then I feel just what is the point of continuing with life? I for one won't be able to take this nonsense continuing forever! It takes away a lot of the good things in life. Practically ZERO chance of finding a job again. This measure alone is extremely damaging for my mental health. I may as well as just give up if it's to continue forever!

It won't last forever, it is utterly unnatural. But if we leave it up to the government to *tell* us when to stop doing it...

At some point we need to realise that a situation where the government tells us whether we can hug our grandchildren, or go to a nightclub, or have a one-night stand, or dare to show our nose and mouth in public, is very much not a society we want to live in.
 

py_megapixel

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Personally the big one for me is Gyms re-opening. Living in a first floor flat with no garden hasn't been so hard during the winter but once the temperature starts increasing and the days start getting longer it will get progressively more difficult. The key thing is that most gym users want the gyms to stay open so will comply with the things like cleaning equipment, booking slots and reduced numbers. Therefore as long as those messages are retained at least in the short team then I can't see what the big issue is.
Similarly, I enjoy swimming, and pools are currently closed.... (I don't tend to enjoy the gym as much, but I guess it's a similar concept regards people taking care to follow the rules etc).

Especially as the weather gets better, I strongly advise everyone to try some form of outdoor exercise if you have the time, even if it's not what you'd ordinarily do. Not because there's anything wrong with going to the gym, but because it works wonders for mental health. See this thread :)
 

Class 33

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Where have you got that idea from? I severely hope nobody's suggested that as a legitimate suggestion.

Well it was just the instant reaction I had to MikeMW's posting just now. Although saying that, as I posted the news article to last night, "government scientists" are saying they want social distancing to remain for the forseeable future. But I hope Johnson tells them where to go with that nonsense, as for this to continue even longer term with no end in sight is just completely unsustainable for the economy and people of this country.

Anyway, apparantly this "road map" is supposedly due to outline approx dates when EACH restriction can be eased/scrapped. So I guess we'll find out next Monday when they intend to scrap social distancing.....
 

Nicholas Lewis

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Basically, yes. The argument now appears to be not only that we have to watch out for these 'new variants' but we have to keep case numbers as low as possible, forever, in order to minimise the risk of such a thing happening because there is some chance or other that some variant or other may be problematic.

So the goalposts have effectively been moved to Mars or thereabouts.

Freedom is inconvenient for politicians, and they've found a very neat way to abolish it. And we'll line up and applaud it and ask for even more to be taken away, it seems.
End furlough and peoples attitude will soon change
 

Jimini

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Personally the big one for me is Gyms re-opening. Living in a first floor flat with no garden hasn't been so hard during the winter but once the temperature starts increasing and the days start getting longer it will get progressively more difficult. The key thing is that most gym users want the gyms to stay open so will comply with the things like cleaning equipment, booking slots and reduced numbers. Therefore as long as those messages are retained at least in the short team then I can't see what the big issue is.


Same here (also in a first floor flat with just a balcony at the moment). My experience of the gym when it reopened last year was that the hygeine standards were exceptional and everything was well organised as you say. I also use it as a place to work in the lounge area -- would easily spend 10+ hours in there per week minimum -- so it's doubly high up on my list of things I want to reopen! Oh to be back in a swimming pool eh...
 

Jamesrob637

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Schools reopened for more classes if not yet everybody
Rule of six outdoors and one household indoors
Non-essential retail, gyms and barbers/hairdressers all to reopen. How depressing is it to walk through a town/city centre where nearly everything is closed. Get it open again! Sand hanitiser at points.
Public transport to be reinstated to nearly full timetables, some peak extras not necessary though.
 

MikeWM

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Well it was just the instant reaction I had to MikeMW's posting just now.

I certainly don't want to cause depression or misery, so apologies if so. I don't really think this will go on forever - they didn't introduce these measures in a logical way so there is no particular reason to assume they will apply logic to removing them either - though if they were under more pressure to do so, they may remove them far more quickly. (I'm more concerned about the quid pro quo for it not going on forever, which I continue to suspect will be in the utterly evil form of a domestic vaccine/test passport - but that's a different thread).

Anyway, apparantly this "road map" is supposedly due to outline approx dates when EACH restriction can be eased/scrapped. So I guess we'll find out next Monday when they intend to scrap social distancing.....

Yes, let's see. I'm no fan of sitting around waiting to see what freedoms I'm going to reluctantly be given back, and when, and what other freedoms I'm going to have to give up in exchange, but here we are.
 

Class 33

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I certainly don't want to cause depression or misery, so apologies if so. I don't really think this will go on forever - they didn't introduce these measures in a logical way so there is no particular reason to assume they will apply logic to removing them either - though if they were under more pressure to do so, they may remove them far more quickly. (I'm more concerned about the quid pro quo for it not going on forever, which I continue to suspect will be in the utterly evil form of a domestic vaccine/test passport - but that's a different thread).



Yes, let's see. I'm no fan of sitting around waiting to see what freedoms I'm going to reluctantly be given back, and when, and what other freedoms I'm going to have to give up in exchange, but here we are.

It's OK. Not a problem. Though I can understand how some people are feeling these social distancing measures won't be scrapped very easily. I was previously optimistic that life would be back to normal by Easter, going by what Johnson and other government ministers have previously said. That moved back to about July, going by what Johnson and other government ministers have recently said! But now going by what Johnson and other government ministers have said over the past couple of weeks or so, it sounds like it could be at least the autumn until these restrictions are scrapped. What with Johnson saying such things as "We need to get much more of the population vaccinated." and "We then need to wait a few weeks to look at the data.", etc. It looks like the goalposts are being moved yet again!

We'll have to hold tight to see whether an estimated end date to social distancing is actually announced with this "roadmap" on Monday. I'm not holding my breath too much for good news to be announced. But I think if an end date is either not announced or it's many months away yet i.e. 1st October, then I do think there will be growing pressure from many business leaders and MP's(including hopefully a growing number of the CRG) to get these restrictions scrapped.

One observation I noticed today on ITV News West Country is that this year's RAF Fairford Air Tattoo which was due to take place in mid July, has today been cancelled due to uncertainties on restrictions and whether the event could actually go ahead. With them cancelling the event today, I did wonder why they couldn't at least wait just another 6 more days to see if the roadmap would give any clarity as to the ending of social distancing and whether their event could go ahead. It could be possible for example that say 1st July is when social distancing restrictions are finally lifted. I do wonder whether they(the organisers) know something that we don't yet know. Having said that though, I see that there are still many many festivals in May and June that are still intending on going ahead and haven't cancelled yet. That could well change though after Johnson's "address to the nation" on Monday night.
 
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Bald Rick

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As this is a predictions thread, I’ll make some that others haven’t:

1) some elements of the ‘roadmap’ will be released over this weekend, to keep it in the news

2) by next Monday, infections will still be running at a 7 day average of c 8-9000, and (most importantly), the number of people in hospital with Covid will be c16,000 - which is where we were the week before Christmas, ie still in trouble in that respect. There will still be some parts of the country with 7 day infection rates over 200 per 100,000. There may be a mention of hospitalisations data showing a steady reduction of admissions for the groups who have been vaccinated around 4-6 weeks their group started being immunised. (Latest data from last week shows the first signs of a slight reduction in hospitalisation rates in the over 75s, compared to under 75s for example)

3) there will be at least 3 weeks between each stage - long enough for the effect of the easement to feed through into infection rates

4) each stage of easement will be said to be permanent, ie no going back, hence the need to be cautious.

5) there will be no promise of being able to have big gatherings over Easter. There may well be an easing of restrictions to allow one household to mix with one other household indoors from the end of March.

6) no localised tiers or lockdowns (per nation)

7) fully intend to enable people to have a summer holiday in the UK

8) all restrictions off by the autumn (Informed Sources third law applies)

9) new variants mean, that in the words of Jeeves: “Constant vigilance required, Sir”
 

chris11256

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I’m not expecting anything at all for Easter. I think they’ll keep household mixing completely banned for another 2-3 months yet. Boris keeps saying that cases need to be very very low.

So following on I don’t think there’ll be any dates set all all, just vague reviews and required numbers of cases.
 

philosopher

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I certainly don't want to cause depression or misery, so apologies if so. I don't really think this will go on forever - they didn't introduce these measures in a logical way so there is no particular reason to assume they will apply logic to removing them either - though if they were under more pressure to do so, they may remove them far more quickly. (I'm more concerned about the quid pro quo for it not going on forever, which I continue to suspect will be in the utterly evil form of a domestic vaccine/test passport - but that's a different thread).



Yes, let's see. I'm no fan of sitting around waiting to see what freedoms I'm going to reluctantly be given back, and when, and what other freedoms I'm going to have to give up in exchange, but here we are.
I agree social distancing will end for three reasons

First, social distancing is not natural for humans, who are social creatures and so cannot really adapt to it as it prevents us fulfilling a fundamental human need for social contact. Ultimately the longer social distancing goes on for, the more and more people will ignore the restrictions and it will become increasingly hard to enforce. Bored young people may resort to criminal activity and cause unrest if most entertainment places remain closed.

Second, there is the threat of a successful legal challence. The measures currently in place violate several human rights such the right to assembly and the right to a private and family life. At the moment they can be justified as a proportionate response due to the threat COVID-19 to people’s lives. However if vaccinations reduce the number of deaths considerably then it increases the chance that a legal challenge against the measures will succeed as the judges conclude the measures can no longer be justified. In fact something like this happened in the Netherlands today:
A court in The Hague has told the Dutch government that an overnight curfew to reduce the spread of coronavirus should be lifted, ruling that it breaches the right to free movement.
The court said the 21:00 to 04:30 curfew was imposed by an emergency law when there was no "acute emergency".

Third there is the economic cost of the economic support measures due to the restrictions. If these measures such as furlough were to end then unemployment would spike and that could lead to unrest. Hence if the measures continue, then the costly support measures will need to continue. At some point, unless the economic system is computely overhailed, then the money will run out to pay for this.

For these reasons, I think the restrictions will be gradually eased over the coming year.
 

brad465

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I don't think dates will be a heavy feature of this announcement. However, we all know Johnson tends to do what is best for Johnson, so I can see him giving conditions for easing that are realistic enough to allow him to avoid the humiliation of being booted out by his own party (when the Tory party deem the pandemic to be over in very low deaths and hospitalisations there'll want all restrictions gone, or him if they're not so he owns the damage), and/or allow him to resign at a very suitable time.

When I say 'very suitable time', I don't just mean when he can take the credit for removing all restrictions, but he will want/need to remove them and then jump ship before all the fallout from Brexit (sorry but this hasn't gone away either so will influence his behaviour) becomes apparent and he will want to avoid dealing with it like David Cameron avoided responsibility.

Therefore, he may set conditions surrounding a successful vaccination rollout hopefully seeing enough improvements before Brexit consequences become ever more apparent. These conditions theoretically would allow all restrictions to go by some point in June, because all of 1-9 would likely have 2 vaccine doses by mid-June and seasonal effects combined could well see a very good picture, then he could resign before end of the grace period of Brexit customs' checks that sees checks on imports come into effect from July, on top of all the increased activity from restrictions having been removed exacerbating Brexit effects.
 

Bald Rick

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I do wonder if Boris will announce a date for the closure of the COVID forum on Rail U.K.

That, for me, marks the end of the pandemic!
 

brad465

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Whatever is announced on Monday, I highly doubt it will go 100% as outlined (even if no dates are offered). Partly because nothing ever works 100% as intended, but I suspect if it's more cautious than many would like, while stats constantly improve, huge pressure from key groups and MPs, along with further non-compliance, would force a change of approach. The idea that the approach is more cautious than many would like would not necessarily emerge straight after the announcement, but as weeks go by and the measures in place appear more disproportionally harsh.
 

duncanp

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Whatever is announced on Monday, I highly doubt it will go 100% as outlined (even if no dates are offered). Partly because nothing ever works 100% as intended, but I suspect if it's more cautious than many would like, while stats constantly improve, huge pressure from key groups and MPs, along with further non-compliance, would force a change of approach. The idea that the approach is more cautious than many would like would not necessarily emerge straight after the announcement, but as weeks go by and the measures in place appear more disproportionally harsh.

This is what I think too. He will say something like "...pubs will not be able to open before the middle of May at the earliest...." and then just as the elections are coming up and the opinion polls are going against the Conservatives, some statistics will magically appear which will allow him to say "...due to the success of the vaccination program, and revised data which we have just received, we can now open pubs at the beginning of May...".
 

Ianno87

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This is what I think too. He will say something like "...pubs will not be able to open before the middle of May at the earliest...." and then just as the elections are coming up and the opinion polls are going against the Conservatives, some statistics will magically appear which will allow him to say "...due to the success of the vaccination program, and revised data which we have just received, we can now open pubs at the beginning of May...".

Do local elections have purdah? Might that prevent things like that being suddenly announced?
 

duncanp

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Do local elections have purdah? Might that prevent things like that being suddenly announced?

They might in normal circumstances, but as with everything related to COVID-19, the usual rules don't apply.

No doubt there will be a review of the COVID restrictions conveniently timed to take place a week or so before the elections, so that there is some good news to announce before polling day.
 
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Similarly, I enjoy swimming, and pools are currently closed.... (I don't tend to enjoy the gym as much, but I guess it's a similar concept regards people taking care to follow the rules etc).

Especially as the weather gets better, I strongly advise everyone to try some form of outdoor exercise if you have the time, even if it's not what you'd ordinarily do. Not because there's anything wrong with going to the gym, but because it works wonders for mental health. See this thread :)

Thanks, I have actually tried running but whilst its good for me I can't manage more than 2 runs a week and I can't see it continuing once gyms re-open. I like going to the gym to lift weights and there's nothing quite as satisfying as hitting a new personal best and the adrenaline rush that brings with me. Plus it's also the social side (in as much as you'd be allowed) and comparing routines and different exercises to try and find bigger gains.
 

bramling

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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.

I’d just open everything, to be honest.

I went out just now to look for some clothing to wear at a funeral (which I would deem as a fairly essential item). Marks & Spencer seems the only place where there’s any hope. So I go there, only one floor is open - I’m guessing they were allowed to keep that floor space open as it’s on the same level as the food hall, they’ve packed in a token range of menswear, womenswear and children’s clothing, none of which was particularly coherent nor useful. There was a lady on the door literally just saying “good afternoon” to everyone, and the inevitable one-way system which had degenerated into farce as no one could find how to get out! Needless to say the whole place was completely packed with families. I came out empty-handed.

The more they tinker with stuff, the more it just doesn’t work. Just open as much as possible all at once, and have distancing measures if necessary - much of which won’t amount to much in practice as the only reason there’s issues now is because of the amount of people with spare time on their hands.

As this is a predictions thread, I’ll make some that others haven’t:

1) some elements of the ‘roadmap’ will be released over this weekend, to keep it in the news

2) by next Monday, infections will still be running at a 7 day average of c 8-9000, and (most importantly), the number of people in hospital with Covid will be c16,000 - which is where we were the week before Christmas, ie still in trouble in that respect. There will still be some parts of the country with 7 day infection rates over 200 per 100,000. There may be a mention of hospitalisations data showing a steady reduction of admissions for the groups who have been vaccinated around 4-6 weeks their group started being immunised. (Latest data from last week shows the first signs of a slight reduction in hospitalisation rates in the over 75s, compared to under 75s for example)

3) there will be at least 3 weeks between each stage - long enough for the effect of the easement to feed through into infection rates

4) each stage of easement will be said to be permanent, ie no going back, hence the need to be cautious.

5) there will be no promise of being able to have big gatherings over Easter. There may well be an easing of restrictions to allow one household to mix with one other household indoors from the end of March.

6) no localised tiers or lockdowns (per nation)

7) fully intend to enable people to have a summer holiday in the UK

8) all restrictions off by the autumn (Informed Sources third law applies)

9) new variants mean, that in the words of Jeeves: “Constant vigilance required, Sir”

I bet they mean July/August for a UK summer holiday. That will prove unacceptable for many.
 

yorksrob

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I’d just open everything, to be honest.

I went out just now to look for some clothing to wear at a funeral (which I would deem as a fairly essential item). Marks & Spencer seems the only place where there’s any hope. So I go there, only one floor is open - I’m guessing they were allowed to keep that floor space open as it’s on the same level as the food hall, they’ve packed in a token range of menswear, womenswear and children’s clothing, none of which was particularly coherent nor useful. There was a lady on the door literally just saying “good afternoon” to everyone, and the inevitable one-way system which had degenerated into farce as no one could find how to get out! Needless to say the whole place was completely packed with families. I came out empty-handed.

The more they tinker with stuff, the more it just doesn’t work. Just open as much as possible all at once, and have distancing measures if necessary - much of which won’t amount to much in practice as the only reason there’s issues now is because of the amount of people with spare time on their hands.

Yes, I can see the argument for that.

The whole lockdown strategy is a pointless disaster. Most things (except perhaps large indoor crowd events) should be open.
 

Bald Rick

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Do local elections have purdah? Might that prevent things like that being suddenly announced?

Purdah does apply for the local elections, from sometime around 25 March. However that doesn’t mean that the Governemnt can’t make announcements, particularly if they have been ‘pre announced’ and simply being reconfirmed / updated.
 

londonteacher

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I have a feeling that both lockdown sceptics and pro-lockdown people will be disappointed on Monday with what Boris says.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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I have a feeling that both lockdown sceptics and pro-lockdown people will be disappointed on Monday with what Boris says.
That will be good outcome because it would be a balanced view.

BoJo earlier pushing the narrative again there won't be any dates on Monday is all about setting him up to say more than expected so his latest work of fiction will be gratefully received by everyone and applauded by the media.
 

Bald Rick

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I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the measures that is a marker for when a certain group of restrictions is eased is the number of people immunised (first dose and/or second dose). Herd immunity, and therefore protection for the most vulnerable who are unable to have a vaccine, will rely on high levels of vaccine uptake. That is happening now, but could potentially wane as the programme moves to the younger, less vulnerable sections of society. He could, for example, say that hospitality won’t be allowed to open until (say) 30 million people have had both doses. “Jabs for Pubs” for example.
 

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