Boris Johnson confirms easing of England lockdown next week

Pubs and restaurants can reopen outdoor spaces as planned next Monday, along with non-essential shops, gyms and hairdressers, as England’s lockdown is further eased, Boris Johnson has said.

But the prime minister urged caution, saying: “We can’t be complacent.”

At a briefing Mr Johnson also said officials are considering the potential role of Covid status certificates.

Pilot events will take place from mid-April to trial the system, with later events checking vaccinations.

Meanwhile, the government has published an update on a series of reviews into Covid certificates, the safe return of mass events, international travel and social distancing rules.

In the document, the government advises people not to book summer holidays abroad “until the picture is clearer”.

Other changes to the stage two easing of England’s lockdown from 12 April include:

  • Spas can reopen, excluding saunas and steam rooms
  • Members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation
  • Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will also reopen
  • As can zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances events
  • And other close-contact services such as beauty and nail salons can also reopen
  • Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place
  • The number of care home visitors will also increase to two per resident

Speaking in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said the 12 April changes could go ahead due to “our collective efforts” and were “fully justified by the data which show that we’re meeting our four tests for easing the lockdown”.

He also said there was nothing in the present data to suggest the government would have to “deviate” from its planned roadmap out of lockdown.

“We’ve set out our roadmap and we’re sticking to it,” the prime minister said.

But he added: “We can’t be complacent, we can see the waves of sickness afflicting other countries and we’ve seen how this story goes.”

He also encouraged people to use free NHS tests “even if you don’t feel ill” as part of a drive to identify cases without symptoms.

It comes as everyone in England is to be given access to two rapid coronavirus tests a week from Friday, under an extension of the government’s testing programme.

The lateral flow kits, which can provide results in around 30 minutes, will be available for free at testing sites, pharmacies and through the post.