The key dates coming up that will decide the easing of coronavirus lockdown rules

Emily Cleary
·4 min read
The Head of the River is a popular gastro pub set on the River Thames at Oxford, providing meals and accommodation. People sit and enjoy a drink with a view in the outdoor beer garden. Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK.
Plans to reopen the hospitality industry by the Spring may be in the pipeline (Getty images)

For ten months the UK has been living with some degree of coronavirus restrictions.

Boris Johnson has promised a review of the current nationwide lockdown on 15 February and has said he is ‘hopeful’ that schools can start to reopen from 8 March. A ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown has been earmarked to be announced on 22 February.

Everything will depend on the latest data regarding the spread of coronavirus and the rate of infections, the government will also take into account the effect of the vaccine rollout that began in December.

On Friday The Times newspaper reported that Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown will prioritise outdoor socialising and that will lay out a timetable for when the hospitality sector and shops can reopen in an announcement on Monday.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a press conference where he is expected to announce new restrictions to help combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain October 31, 2020. Alberto Pezzali/Pool via REUTERS
Boris Johnson's 'roadmap' out of lockdown is due to be confirmed on 22 February (Alberto Pezzali/Pool via REUTERS)

According to the newspaper, certain outdoor sports could also be back as soon as next month.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Thursday he is "confident that if we keep going as we're going, we'll have a good summer".

Here are the key dates to note when it comes to lockdown restrictions lifting in Britain.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28: An airplane flies over a Travelodge Hotel as it comes in to land at Heathrow Airport on January 28, 2021 in London, England. Arriving travellers from 22 "red list" countries including South Africa, South American countries and Portugal, will now need to quarantine in hotel rooms upon arrival to the UK. The measures have been introduced to prevent new strains of the covid-19 virus from taking hold here. Other countries have adopted this policy with travellers paying for their accommodation in designated hotels and are delivered meals during the quarantine period. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Arriving travellers from 22 red list' countries including South Africa, South America and Portugal will need to quarantine in hotel rooms for up to two weeks from next Monday (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

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What you can and can't do under current lockdown rules

15 February

* Having reviewed the most up-to-date figures, current lockdown measures are due to be reviewed. Plans to allow outdoor sports activities such as tennis and golf to restart within weeks of schools reopening on 8 March are expected.

* Deadline for 13.9 million coronavirus vaccines - covering the four most at-risk groups - to have been administered across the UK. Top of the priority list are people who live and work in care homes, followed by people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers - including NHS staff. Next on the list are people over the age 75, and the fourth group are people aged over 70 and those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.

* Hotel quarantine begins: More than 1,400 travellers a day arriving in Britain from 33 high-risk countries will have to pay £1,000 for 11 days of hotel quarantine.

Resident Annie Innes, 90, receives the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Abercorn House Care Home in Hamilton, Scotland, Britain December 14, 2020. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/Pool     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The UK goverment aims to have vaccinated 15 million of the country's most vulnerable people by 15 February (REUTERS/Russell Cheyne/Pool)

22 February

* Schools in Scotland will start to reopen for pupils in years one to three along with those in the senior phase of secondary school. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has also suggested schools could start to reopen at the same time.

* Boris Johnson to reveal his roadmap out of lockdown for the UK including details of reopening schools, retail, and the hospitality industry.

Watch: England ‘past the peak’ of third wave

8 March

The earliest date at which English schools will reopen for any pupils. It is expected that the youngest children and those in exam years will be the first to return, using a phased approach.


Nadhim Zahawi has hinted that retail may begin to reopen by March.

"If you add another three weeks to... when the vaccine protection really does begin to kick in, you're at the first week of March," he said on Thursday.

"So that's when we will begin to first of all open schools and then begin a gradual reopening of the economy, if we continue to see good data."


According to The Times, Johnson’s roadmap may allow hospitality venues to begin to reopen in the Spring, with more relaxed rules including no requirement for pubs to serve a ‘substantial meal’ with alcohol.

Late Spring

The chief executive of the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens, predicts that the remaining priority groups - including all of those aged over 50 - will have been offered a vaccine, as long as supply is not affected.


It is hoped that everyone in the UK able to take up the vaccine will have received it.

Watch: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?