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Updated: 12 April 2021

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The Prime Minister has announced the awaited government’s four-step roadmap to ease restrictions across England paving a return to our more normal way of life.   He stressed that the decision at each stage will be based on data not dates, and the government will move cautiously to ensure infection rates are kept under control only if the data outcomes indicate that further lifting of restrictions may be possible.


We share in profound gratitude for the extraordinary success of the UK’s vaccination programme which coupled with the resolve of the British public in following the lockdown restrictions, has helped to both significantly cut infection rates and reduce the spread of the virus. Data is also showing a drastic reduction in hospitalisations and deaths with a reduction in the spread of the virus of over 75% thanks to the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines with similar outcomes from other vaccines.


The roadmap, which has now been published online at, outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Prior to moving forward from one step to the next, the Government will examine the data collected on the impact of previous steps.  This vital data will inform decisions going forward. We welcome this steady approach and recognise that it is sensible to be led by data on outcomes, in order that we may finally successfully be released from the effects of lockdown.


The four-step plans will be influenced by passing the following:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.

  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.

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

  • Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.


There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions; followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.


The Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser have made clear that this will give adequate time to assess the impact of each step and reduce the risk of having to re-impose restrictions at a later date.


In the meantime, the vaccination programme continues at pace, with the most recent announcement of a new target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to every adult by the end of July. We must recognise that this is the largest vaccination programme in our history. It will take time to reach everyone and some must remain patient and cautious.


The NHS in Sussex has remained on track to meet each aspirational deadline set by the Government and continues to vaccinate local residents, as per the order of priority, at an increasing rate.


We must not act selfishly but, rather, consider the health and wellbeing of those around us as restrictions begin to be eased.


We must all act in a spirit of togetherness to follow this roadmap towards recovering our freedoms and normality.


Explaining the Steps:


Current Step:

From 12th of April

  • Non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, will reopen.

  • Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances will also be permitted.

  • Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen - but only for use by people on their own or with their household.

  • Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only. There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and no curfew - although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.

  • Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.

  • Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (from 6).

Step Three:

No earlier than 17th of May

  • Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.

  • Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen.. Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - although we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

  • Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.

  • Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).

  • In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).

  • Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. Other life events that will be permitted include bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Step Four:


No earlier than 21st of June

  • It is hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed.

  • We hope to reopen nightclubs, and lift restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3.

  • This will also guide decisions on whether allf limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.


The roadmap can be found in full here.


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