Three huge lockdown changes which could be made from March 8 – including picnics

February 22 has long been earmarked as the date Prime Minister Boris Johnson will unveil his roadmap which will detail how lockdown restrictions will be eased across the UK.

There has been much debate surrounding when schoolchildren will return to the classroom, though that date has finally been confirmed as March 8 by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Prime Minister Johnson told the nation at the latest media briefing that the government's blueprints on how to lift the country out of lockdown will be "cautious but irreversible".

This week is set to be key in determining how PM Johnson will approach easing restrictions, as he continues to debate the best method of lifting amid the backdrop of encouraging signs surrounding coronavirus case and death data.

Both COVID-19 cases and death numbers are starting to stabilise, while more than 15 million people in the most vulnerable age groups have now received at least the first dosage of their vaccine.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed that all schools will receive a two-week notice period ahead of their reopening to allow staff, parents and pupils to prepare for the return.

According to Birmingham Live, these three changes could all be imminent:

Picnics

As part of the phased return to normality, Boris Johnson is exploring the idea of allowing people to meet one other member of another household for outdoor recreation, such as a picnic.

At the moment, one person can meet one other person from a different household outdoors – but this can only be for exercise.

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During November’s lockdown, two people from different households were allowed to meet in an outdoor public space for both exercise or recreation.

Outdoor Sports/Exercise

Tennis courts and golf courses are currently closed – but restrictions may be eased next month as the country seeks to get active.

People may be allowed to meet to play outdoor sports, where social distancing is much easier.

The Prime Minister is set to meet with his Cabinet and scientific advisers over the next week to brainstorm the best method of safely lifting lockdown restrictions before a national address on February 22.

Schools

Already highlighted by Prime Minister Johnson last month, the absolute earliest date that schools will reopen is March 8.

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Classroom learning was always expected to be the first thing to return as part of the easing of lockdown due to mounting concerns from teachers and parents alike over the potential damage of extended periods outside the classroom.

There is still worry from some medical experts that the reopening of schools could lead to yet another spike in infections and place further pressure on already strained hospital services.

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