Boris Johnson announces plans for re-opening of pubs outdoors

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The lockdown restrictions in England could finally all be lifted by June 21 as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s four-stage plan. Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson announced “the end really is in sight”. The Prime Minister told MPs the approach will be “cautious but irreversible”, as the impact of the successful vaccine rollout will likely replace the need for social distancing measures and face coverings. He said a “wretched year would give way to a spring and summer that will be very different and incomparably better”.

When can dance studios and dance schools reopen?

Gyms and indoor leisure centres can reopen from April 17 at the very earliest, the Government has said.

However, this doesn’t include dance studios and schools.

Instead, studios and schools can reopen from May 17 at the earliest, alongside other organised indoor sports like gym classes.

Gyms reopening come as part of “step two”, which will also see the opening up of all retail, outdoor hospitality and personal care such as hairdressers and nail salons.

The Government said: “This step will reopen some sections of our indoor economy and more outdoor settings, restoring jobs and livelihoods and enabling people to access some of the activities and services which are most important to them.”

The new easing of restrictions will come two weeks after outdoor sports.

Golf, tennis, basketball and swimming pools are expected to be allowed to reopen from March 29 onwards.

The Government added that it will update its Covid-secure guidance to advise businesses on improving fresh air flow indoors and carrying out regular testing.

Within the road map out of lockdown, the official guidance reads: “Opening outdoor sports settings will help to reduce the adverse physical and mental health effects experienced by large parts of the population, in particular children and those living alone.

“Exercise and outdoor sports are well documented to reduce individuals’ risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50 percent and lower risk of early death by up to 30 percent.

“Physical activity is also known to help with improving mental health through better sleep, happier moods and managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and ‘racing’ thoughts.”

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the Government is prioritising outdoor sports as they are “safer” in terms of spreading the virus.

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Mr Zahawi told LBC on Monday morning: “The simple way to look at this is that outdoor is safer and therefore we prioritise versus indoor.”

Owners of some of the country’s biggest gym firms have also been calling on the Government to give them a date, and will undoubtedly be glad with Monday’s outcome

Humphrey Cobbold, chief executive of PureGym, told reporters this morning members are “desperate to get back for the benefits of physical and mental well-being”.

He added: “It is all very well to hear tennis and golf are reopening, but let’s be honest, those are rich people sports.”

As part of the roadmap out of lockdown, non-essential retail is expected to reopen from April 12.

This will be followed by pubs and restaurants in an indoor capacity on May 17.

Businesses like spas, saunas and nightclubs are expected to follow suit on June 21, by which time it’s hoped the whole economy will be unlocked.

There are high hopes Brits could enjoy a sense of normality by the time July comes around, when every adult should have been offered their first dose of a vaccine.

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