Kirstie Goulder

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Summary of the Government’s COVID-19 Response Spring 2021 (the “Roadmap”)

Coronavirus / 22 February 2021

On 22 February 2021, the Government published its COVID-19 Response Spring 2021 (the “Roadmap”) setting out the roadmap of the current lockdown for England. We summarise the key “Steps” below.

The Prime Minister has advocated a “cautious but irreversible” approach to lifting the current lockdown restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The efforts of the British public to comply with the current rules and the vaccination roll-out programme have resulted in a proposed roadmap out of lockdown for England. For the most part, the dates are provisional and will be based on data and the “Four Tests” including:

Test 1 – The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.

Test 2 – Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.

Test 3 – Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Test 4 – The Government’s assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.

Assuming these tests are satisfied, here is a summary of the roadmap, “Four Steps” and provisional dates.

Step 1

8 March 2021

—  Schools and colleges are open for all students.
—  Recreation or exercise outdoors with household or one other person.
—  General stay at home order remains in force subject to support bubble exceptions.
—  Funerals (max. 30 people) and weddings (max. 6 people)

29 March 2021

—  Rule of 6 or two households outdoors. No multiple household mixing indoors.
—  Outdoor sport and leisure facilities can open.
—  Organised outdoor sport allowed (adults and children).
—  Minimise travel and no holidays.

Step 2

At least 5 weeks after Step 1, no earlier than 12 April 2021

—  Indoor leisure (including gyms) open for use individually or within household groups.
—  Rule of 6 or two households outdoors. No multiple household mixing indoors.
—  Outdoor attractions such as zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas can re-open.
—  Libraries and community centres can re-open.
—  Personal care premises can re-open.
—  All retail can re-open.
—  Outdoor hospitality can re-open.
—  Domestic overnight stays (household only).
—  Self-contained accommodation (household only).
—  Funerals (max. 30 people) and weddings (max. 15 people).
—  Minimise travel. No international holidays.

Step 3

At least 5 weeks after Step 2, no earlier than 17 May 2021

—  Indoor entertainment and attractions can re-open.
—  30 person limit to meet outdoors. Rule of 6 or two households can meet indoors (subject to review).
—  Domestic overnight stays.
—  Organised indoor adult sport.
—  Life events max. 30 people.
—  Remaining outdoor entertainment (including performances).
—  Remaining accommodation, including bed and breakfasts.
—  Some large events (subject to capacity limits).
—  International travel (subject to review).

Step 4

At least 5 weeks after Step 3, no earlier than 21 June 2021

—  No legal limits on social contact.
—  Nightclubs can re-open.
—  Larger events.
—  No legal limits on life events.

These steps provide individuals and businesses with some clarity in terms of time-scales and also allow businesses time to prepare to re-mobilise post-lockdown. There are many steps you can start taking now to ensure you are ready to re-open safely. Kathryn Gilbertson, our Regulatory expert, will provide further, more specific updates about re-mobilisation in the next few weeks. If you have any urgent questions, please get in touch. 


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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email:

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