Your questions about April 12 lockdown changes – including work, pubs and family


Shops and pub gardens can open next week, Boris Johnson has confirmed.

So what comes next? We look at vaccine passports, summer holidays and other landmarks on the roadmap out of lockdown.

What will change with step 2 of the lockdown roadmap?

The Government has confirmed all changes pencilled in for April 12 will go ahead.

Non-essential shops can reopen, along with hairdressers and beauty salons.

Pubs and restaurants can serve customers outdoors. Gyms can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries and museums.

Holidays in England will be allowed – but only in self-catered accommodation.

Indoor social mixing between different households is still banned until May 17 at the earliest.

But scientists yesterday cast doubt that the next stages of easing – on May 17 and June 21 – will go ahead as planned.



Gyms will be allowed to reopen on April 12
Gyms will be allowed to reopen on April 12

Should I still work from home?

If you can work from home then you should, despite the ‘stay at home’ order lifting on 29 March.

Use of public transport is allowed for any reason but people are advised to minimise how often they take the bus or the underground.

The work from home guidance is only expected to change from June 21 at the earliest – with many employers not planning to have staff back for months more.



Those who can work from home are expected to continue to do so
Those who can work from home are expected to continue to do so

Can I go to the pub yet?

It will be another few days before punters can return to beer gardens for a long-awaited pint with hospitality venues also be able to serve takeaway drinks from April 12.

However limits around social contact will remain in place, so you have to abide by the rule of six or ‘two household’ limits.

Indoor areas of pubs, restaurants and cafes will not be allowed to open until Step 3 of the roadmap, from May 17 at the earliest.

Drinkers may have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test.



Indoor areas of pubs will not open until at least May 17
Indoor areas of pubs will not open until at least May 17

What about hugging my Grandma?

Even though you can meet outdoors, government scientists are still warning people not to hug those not in their household or bubble.

You should maintain two-metre social distancing where possible, or one metre with mitigations.

This rule is only due to be reviewed ahead of May 17, when many more Brits will have had a first dose of the vaccine.

Even then, you should think twice about putting vulnerable loved ones at risk.



Brits are still urged to maintain social distancing and protect vulnerable people
Brits are still urged to maintain social distancing and protect vulnerable people

Can I visit relatives in a care home?

Care home residents in England will be allowed two regular visitors indoors from 12 April.

Currently people in care homes can have just one face-to-face visitor, but as part of the next step of lockdown easing it will be extended to two.

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They will be able to hold hands – but visitors must be tested and wear PPE.

Visitors will also be able to bring babies and young children with them, meaning some residents could meet grandchildren for the first time as community infection rates drop and the vaccine rollout continues.



Care home residents in England will be allowed two regular visitors indoors from April 12
Care home residents in England will be allowed two regular visitors indoors from April 12

Can I book my summer holiday?

Foreign travel is currently illegal under lockdown rules, except in limited circumstances such as for work or to attend a funeral, with ministers reviewing how it can resume from May 17 at the earliest.

But staycations in England are allowed from April 12 – as long as you stay in self-contained accommodation with your own household.

Holidays with other households in England will not be allowed until at least May 17. You can’t travel to stay overnight with friends and family before that date.



Foreign travel is currently illegal
Foreign travel is currently illegal

Will I have to take regular Covid testing?

All adults in England are going to be offered free, twice-weekly tests – and ministers say they will be key to the continued easing of lockdown.

The lateral flow tests – which can provide results in around 30 minutes – will be available from Friday, regardless of whether people have symptoms.

Anybody in England will be able to order a test kit to their home, pick one up at a local site or through a workplace or school programme.

But there are some concerns over false positives which could suggest the disease is making a comeback.



All adults in England are going to be offered free, twice-weekly tests
All adults in England are going to be offered free, twice-weekly tests

Will life finally go back to normal on June 21?

Boris Johnson suggested life will begin to get back to “some semblance” of normality from step 4 of the roadmap but this will rely on twice-weekly Covid testing, vaccine passports, the jabs roll-out and new variants that may arrive from abroad.

Scientists yesterday cast doubt on whether Covid rules can be fully relaxed on June 21, warning that some restrictions such as social distancing may have to be maintained until this time next year.

Vaccine passports

What are vaccine passports?

The certificates would prove whether you have had a jab, a negative Covid test or a recent antibody test to prove immunity from the virus.

The idea is to provide reassurance that you are less likely to spread the virus.

The NHS is looking at digital options for proof of Covid status, such as an app on your phone, and the existing NHS app could be used.

Paper certificates are also being considered to make sure people without smartphones are not excluded.

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Vaccine passports would prove whether you have had a jab
Vaccine passports would prove whether you have had a jab

Will it be used for foreign holidays?

Vaccine passports were originally considered for this reason, as some countries may require travellers to prove they have had the jab.

The Government wanted to develop some sort of proof of vaccine status so British holidaymakers wouldn’t miss out.

Travellers are already required to get Covid tests before going abroad and many countries will ask for proof of a negative result, so the certificate could help with this.



A Covid test is required to travel
A Covid test is required to travel

What about at football matches and big events?

The idea will be trialled as part of pilots for managing the return of crowds to big events.

Initial pilots starting this month on events like the FA Cup semi final and the World Snooker Championships will focus on pre-arrival tests.

But later pilots will include data on vaccination and immunity, the Government says.

Officials think the idea could factor into allowing more spectators at concerts, theatre shows and sports matches, as well as allowing social distancing rules to be relaxed.

Will I need it in the pub?

Pubs and restaurants are not expected to ask for Covid certificates when they start reopening for outdoor hospitality next week. But the Government hasn’t ruled it out.

The review says the Government cannot ban businesses for asking customers to provide proof of their Covid status – as long as they comply with equalities rules.

What about shops and public transport?

Shops, public transport and other essential services will never ask for vaccine passports to ensure fair access for all, the Government says.

Ministers are worried about excluding people for vital services so the review is clear that “some settings (such as essential public services, public transport and essential shops) where Covid-status certification should never be required”.

Do other countries use them?

Ministers have been looking at the “Green Pass” used in Israel, which allows fully vaccinated citizens to go to hotels, gyms and theatres.

Denmark has developed a “Coronapas” to use domestically to allow people to access services such as hairdressers, restaurants and cinemas.



Beauty salons will be allowed to reopen next week
Beauty salons will be allowed to reopen next week

Will MPs get a vote on it?

Yes. The Government says interim findings will be presented to Parliament later this month to ensure the plan is properly scrutinised.

The Prime Minister could face a revolt from MPs over the plan as 40 Tories have expressed concern.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats are also worried about the idea.



Non-essential retail can reopen from April 12
Non-essential retail can reopen from April 12

Why are people concerned?

There are ethical concerns that the plan could lay the groundwork for making people show their ID at all times – a move which has traditionally been resisted.

There are issues about privacy and security of people’s sensitive health data.

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Fears have also been raised about possible discrimination against people who cannot get the jab for medical reasons or younger people still waiting their turn.


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Foreign travel

Will international travel resume as planned?

Boris Johnson sounded pretty cautions on foreign travel yesterday as cases continue to soar across Europe, prompting fears of new variants arriving in the UK.

The PM said he was “hopeful” of getting going after May 17 but does not “wish to give hostages to fortune”.

Leaving the UK without an essential reason – such as work or a family bereavement – is currently illegal.



The PM hopes to allow international travel again from May 17
The PM hopes to allow international travel again from May 17

Can I book a holiday abroad?

For the moment, the Government is advising people not to book summer holidays abroad until the picture is clearer. The global travel taskforce, chaired by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will publish details of the new traffic light system later this week.

An official review published yesterday said ministers still hoped people would be able to take a summer holiday abroad this year but warned it was “still too soon to know what is possible” – and that foreign travel could be delayed beyond the middle of May.

What will the traffic light system be based on?

Once the ban on non-essential travel is lifted, the Government is planning a traffic light system determining which countries Brits can visit this summer and under what conditions.

It will be based on a range of factors – including the proportion of a given country’s population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants and the country’s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.



The Government will consider vaccination rates in the travel destination
The Government will consider vaccination rates in the travel destination

What will I have to do to travel to a “green list” country?

Quarantine for returning Brits will only be dropped for countries on the green list although they will still have to pay for pre-departure and post-arrival tests.

These are likely to be ‘gold standard’ PCR tests rather than cheaper lateral flow ones, adding hundreds of pounds to the cost of a family holiday.

The document said it was too early to say which countries would be on the green list although ministers expect a limited number at the start.



Quarantine for returning Brits will only be dropped for countries on the green list
Quarantine for returning Brits will only be dropped for countries on the green list

And what about “amber list” ones?

Travellers from amber list countries where there is a medium risk including from variants will be required to have a pre-departure test, then quarantine on arrival for up to ten days.

They will have to take a PCR test on days two and eight with the option of a test on the fifth to be released, if negative, from quarantine.



Woking resident Kim Taylor, 39 prepares to use a Covid-19 PCR swab test
A woman prepares to use a Covid-19 PCR swab test

What will be required if I travel to a “red list’ country?

British, Irish and third-country nationals with residence rights – including long-term visa holders – face hotel quarantine of up to 11 days if they arrive from red list countries at a cost of £1,750 per person, with tests on days two and eight.

Direct flights could still be restricted from countries on this list – which currently number almost 40.

Which countries will be on the list?

Israel is likely to be classified as “green” due to its high vaccination rate of 60% and low infection rate of 27 cases per 100,000 people.

Other countries odds on to be in the same category are Malta, Portugal, Gibraltar, UAE, Canada, Barbados, Sri Lanka, Morocco and Grenada.

As things stand countries like Turkey and Greece may be classified as “amber”, although the rate of infection on the European continent means the picture is rapidly changing.

Brazil, which recorded more than 90,000 cases in a single day on April 1 and is contending with its own variant, is a contender for the “red” list.





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