Like all of us here at O’Brien Media, you have probably been following all the news regarding the latest lockdown.
On Wednesday 24th February, the government published their official guidance detailing the steps in which the UK will progress from this lockdown.
This blog post will summarise each of the steps and the key points that each involves in regard to the reopening of businesses and venues.

Step 1 – from the 8th of March:

  • Only the businesses that were permitted to open prior to this date are able to remain open with a few exceptions:
    • Businesses that host childcare and supervised activities for children (providing they are necessary to enable parents to carry out tasks such as working, education or medical reasons).

From 29th March

  • Some further businesses will be able to open, including outdoor sports facilities, such as:
    • Gyms, Swimming pools, sports courts, golf courses, climbing walls and archery venues
    • You can use these venues in a group of six or with members of up to two households.
  • Formally organised outdoor sport can return, including a larger number of participants however, COVID safety measures have to be in place. The use of indoor facilities such as changing rooms is not permitted, along with no spectators.
  • The eligible businesses that hold childcare activities will be able to hold all outdoor children’s activities as well as outdoor parent-child groups for up to 15 people.

Step 2 – no earlier than 12th of April

Further businesses and venues will be allowed to open at this stage with social contact limits still in place at this stage.
The social contact limits (unless a specific exemption exists) will be as a single household/bubble indoors, a group of 6 people or 2 households outdoor.
The businesses that will be allowed to reopen at this time include:

  • Non-essential retail, such as:
    • Clothing, charity shops, homeware, showrooms, electronic and mobile phone stores, retail travel agents, photography studios, car washes.
  • Personal care and close contact facilities, such as:
    • Hair/beauty/nail salons, body/skin piercings, tattoo studios, spas/massage centres, holistic therapy, tanning salons
  • Indoor sports and leisure facilities:
    • These include the same outdoor facilities as from the 29th of March, however, from Stage 2, now include
    • Gyms, Swimming pools, sports courts, golf courses, climbing walls and archery venues will now be indoor, with indoor dance studios also being an addition.
  • Self-contained holiday accommodation
    • At this stage, all facilities (sleeping catering, bathing and indoor lobbies) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble.
  • Outdoor areas in hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs)
    • This includes takeaway alcohol.
    • Customers may use toilets inside the venue
    • Customers will have to order and eat/drink while seated
  • Outdoor attractions
    • Adventure parks and activities, animal attractions, drive-in events, film studios, funfairs/fairgrounds, model villages, museums/galleries, skating rinks, theme/trampolining/water parks.
  • Public buildings
    • Community halls/centres, libraries
  • Childcare businesses
    • Businesses that host childcare activities (including sport) can host for all children, regardless of circumstances.
  • Businesses operating in otherwise closed attractions
    • Such as gift shop or takeaway kiosk
    • Only eligible to reopen if business can be accessed direct from street.
  • Outdoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, or public body.
    • These events have to comply with COVID guidelines, and a risk assessment has to be carried out.
    • This may include spectators at an event providing they stick to social contact limits (groups of 6/ 2 households).
    • Indoor events must not take place, even if other households do not mix. (There is an exception with support groups, activities for children, parent/child groups (up to 15 people), communal worship, wedding/funeral/commemorative event).

Step 3 – no earlier than 17th of May

Further businesses and venues will be allowed to open at this stage with social contact limits still in place at this stage, however, there can now be a group of no more than 30 people outdoors.
The following businesses and venues will be allowed to reopen:

  • Indoor areas of hospitality venues
    • As with outdoor, table service will be required.
  • Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions, such as:
    • Cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries, bingo halls, bowling allies
  • Remaining outdoor events, such as:
    • Cinema, theatres, and other performance events
  • Remaining holiday accommodation
  • Remaining health facilities
    • Saunas and steam rooms
    • Indoor team sport
    • Group exercise classes
  • Both indoor and outdoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, or public body.
    • Indoor events are now allowed at this stage.
    • These events have to comply with COVID guidelines, and a risk assessment has to be carried out.
    • This may include spectators at an event providing they stick to social contact limits
  • Spectators will be allowed at elite sporting/performance events
    • For indoor events, attendance is restricted to 50% of capacity up to 1,000 people.
    • For outdoor events, attendance is restricted to 50% of capacity up to 4,000 people.
    • For outdoor events taking place with a seated capacity of over 16,000 people, a 25% capacity cap of up to 10,000 seated people applies.
    • Large business events will be able to go ahead, subject to the same capacity requirements.

Step 4 – no earlier than 21st of June

At this stage, the restrictions on social contact and large events (outlined in Stage 3 above) should be lifted.
It is worth noting that this is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Program as well as a review of the social distancing measures that have been put in place.
The remaining settings such as nightclubs will also be allowed to reopen.

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