Pub gardens, outside dining and haircuts return in lockdown easing for England
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Pints will be poured for pub gardens, restaurants will serve diners outside and long-overdue haircuts will be sought in a major easing of England’s coronavirus lockdown on Monday.
Non-essential retail, as well as indoor gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen as lives take another leap back towards normality along the road map to ending restrictions.
Libraries, zoos and nail salons will also reopen as greater outdoor interaction is permitted while mixing with other households indoors remains heavily restricted.
Businesses and citizens eagerly anticipated the renewed freedoms, but any fanfare for the easings has been somewhat muted by the national mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh.
Boris Johnson postponed his celebratory pint and Government communications have been pared back to just essential messages after Philip’s death at the age of 99 on Friday.
Wales will also see freedoms returned, with non-essential retail reopening and border restrictions eased to permit travel again with the rest of the UK and Ireland.
Remaining school pupils will return to face-to-face teaching in Wales and Northern Ireland, moves being echoed in Scotland as pupils return from their Easter breaks.
The “stay at home” order in Northern Ireland will also end as the number of people permitted to meet outdoors rises from six to 10.
In England, after months of being closed, pubs and restaurants have undertaken renovations to maximise their ability to serve customers outside.
But the British Beer and Pub Association estimates that just 40% of pubs in England have the space to reopen for outdoor service.
Both the 10pm curfew rule and the requirement to order a substantial meal with a drink have been scrapped, but social distancing must be abided by.
Domestic holidays can resume to an extent, with overnight stays permitted in self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets and campsites where indoor facilities are not shared.
But these can only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.
International holidays remain banned until an unknown date, amid a row over the cost of testing plans to assist their return.
People will not be allowed to visit each others’ homes, with inside socialising continuing to be prohibited.
The quiet from Government during the period of national mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh means only essential public health measures are to be communicated.
Mr Johnson was no longer expected to issue a statement to mark the moment.
It will be the third in a series of easings since the third national lockdown was legally imposed in England on January 6.
The next date earmarked on the road map is May 17, when socialising indoors will be permitted under the “rule of six” if the Prime Minister judges that the vaccination programme is safely breaking the link between infections and deaths.
After three months of full national lockdown, the Government said on Saturday that a further 40 people had died in the UK within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test. A further 2,589 lab-confirmed cases were also announced.
More than 60% of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to official figures stating that 32 million people have received a jab.
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