Strict lockdown rule is set to be lifted by Boris Johnson

‘Stay at home’ message will be shown the door: Strict lockdown rule is set to be lifted by Boris Johnson as he prepares to give green light for outdoor sports as the country takes it first steps out of Covid-19 restrictions

  • The Prime Minister will end tough stay at home restrictions next month
  • Ministers plan to overhaul the rules to allow socialising outside from March 8
  • Officials believe the public may be spurred into getting fit if pursuits allowed 

The strict ‘stay at home’ message will be ditched by Boris Johnson and the green light given for outdoor sports as the country takes it first steps out of lockdown, it has been revealed.

The Prime Minister will end tough restrictions next month that mean people can only leave their homes for work, exercise or to buy essentials. 

As part of the first major easing, ministers plan to overhaul the rules to allow socialising outside from as soon as March 8. Possibly before the end of March, outdoor leisure activities, including golf and tennis, will be permitted.

As well as transmission risks being low as they are played outside, officials believe the public may be spurred into getting fit if the pursuits are among the first things to be allowed. 

The Prime Minister will end tough restrictions next month that mean people can only leave their homes for work, exercise or to buy essentials. Pictured, Helen Tukapua, 34, and husband Reagan, 41, on Richmond Green last summer


Possibly before the end of March, outdoor leisure activities, including golf and tennis, will be permitted (file images)

At the same time the Government intends to drops its slogan, ‘Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives’.

At last night’s Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said he wanted ‘this lockdown to be the last’, as he promised to gradually remove restrictions in a ‘cautious but also irreversible’ way. 

Shoppers wearing face masks walk in the city centre of Leeds. Mr Johnson will publish his roadmap for easing lockdown next Monday, which will include target dates for the earliest each of the restrictions will be lifted

While admitting he could not give a ‘cast iron guarantee’ there will be no further lockdowns, the Prime Minister stressed that ‘science is now unquestionably in the ascendancy over the disease’. 

‘I don’t want people to think that I am not optimistic, there has been a big change,’ he added.

Mr Johnson will publish his roadmap for easing lockdown next Monday, which will include target dates for the earliest each of the restrictions will be lifted. He is expected to chair a meeting of the Cabinet’s ‘Covid O’ committee later this week to hammer out the details. 

Government sources said one of Mr Johnson’s top priorities is to allow more outdoor pursuits as he wants to ‘kickstart the health of the nation’ (file image)

Mr Johnson encouraged the public to ‘try to keep going through this pandemic… because I hope that there isn’t that much longer to go now.’ Pictured, a staff member at The Shy Horse pub and restaurant in Chessington, Greater London, last July

And he will present the blueprint in the Commons on Monday afternoon, before making a televised address from Downing Street in the evening.

Government sources said one of Mr Johnson’s top priorities is to allow more outdoor pursuits as he wants to ‘kickstart the health of the nation’. 

Last night the PM called for people to be ‘optimistic but also patient’ about the situation. ‘There’s no question that as this goes on and the lockdown continues the stresses and strains are really beginning to tell on people,’ he conceded.

Mr Johnson encouraged the public to ‘try to keep going through this pandemic… because I hope that there isn’t that much longer to go now.’ 

Asked if this will be the last lockdown, he said: ‘I can’t give that guarantee, of course not, because we are battling with nature, with a disease that is capable of mutating and changing.

‘I’m increasingly confident, I’m increasingly optimistic about the sheer extent of the possibilities that are opening up with vaccinations. I will be setting out as much of a timetable as we can give on the 22nd and I’m very hopeful that we will be able to go ahead and open things up.’

How will PM’s road map look? 

The road map for easing lockdown will be unveiled on Monday, setting out the order in which rules will be lifted and the target dates. Here’s what we know so far:

  • The only firm date is March 8, when schools will open.
  • Socialising is the next priority. The plan is to allow individuals to go out with anyone from their own household, for example for a family picnic, or for individuals to see one person from another household.
  • Outdoor sports including golf and tennis may be allowed at some point next month. Ministers are also keen to open leisure centres and gyms but this may take longer.
  • High street stores could open at the end of next month, or the start of April. Hairdressers and beauty salons will follow later.
  • Pubs and restaurants could open in April or May but possibly with customers served at outdoor tables at first.
  • Rules on staying local and travelling in the UK for holidays will probably be eased in May.

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