SO Boris has painted the Yellow Brick Road outta here.
Starting on March 8 with the reopening of schools in England, the Holy Grail of life returning back to normal is scheduled for midsummer: June 21. There are various pit stops in between, allowing for shops, pubs, gyms, and hairdressers, cinemas and theatres to open.
As the BBC’s Nick Robinson helpfully calculated for us all on Twitter today, it will be:
- 49 days until we can go the pub, shops and get a haircut
- 84 days until we can see friends or family indoors, go to a movie, a play or a match
- 110 days until we can see who we like, where we like.
That is assuming there is no pile-ups along the way, in the shape of infection, hospitalisation and death rates rising rather than falling as we embark on the national un-locking.
Exit plans: how are you feeling?
On Twitter, Robinson asks, does the roadmap leave you feeling excited, disappointed, reassured or frustrated?
For me, it makes me feel hopeful. Four months until life can return to normal. I can take that. Four months seems a long time. But look back. What were we doing four months ago? It was the end of October and we were coming up to the second lockdown being announced. We can wait that long again. Especially when we know that – if all goes according to plan – come mid June, we can do, see and go where we like.
Exit plans: what are yours?
I’m already making mental plans and beginning to look forward to what I will be able to do in the coming weeks. I’ve already got my hair appointment booked for 1pm on Monday April 12 – my wedding anniversary.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
For many parents, the fact that children can return to school in two weeks will be a relief.
My daughter is 18 and back living at home with us after spending just 10 weeks in halls at Sheffield University. We are still not sure when she can return. The hope is it will be after the Easter holidays. I really hope she can get back to university and salvage some part of her first year.
On March 29, we can play tennis again – that is something I am excited about. I have a bit of Achilles tendonitis, so I will need to crack on with my physio exercises so I will be fit to play when courts open again.
Also the ‘rule of six’ and the mixing of two households will be allowed, outdoors, but also in private gardens from March 29. That will be SO lovely – to have friends over in the garden, for food and drinks and catch-up. We invested in a gazebo, lights and an outdoor heater last year: so we’re prepared whatever the weather.
And by sheer good fortune, I have booked a week’s leave for the week beginning March 29 – even more reason to look forward to that date.
Roll on April, May & June!
April 12 is the date when you can eat and drink outdoors. I might get out with Dr P for an anniversary meal or drink. I’m looking forward to the celebration already. Hairdressers can open too. Hallelujah – my big question is whether I can resist home dyeing my roots in the meantime. By that point it will be four months since they’ve had any attention. I have cracked and been trimming my own fringe (sorry Emma!). I’d like to think I can just accept the greys with grace. Time will tell!
Gyms can open by this date too. Depending on Covid rates and whether I have had my vaccination, I might start swimming and working out again.
Last week, the Government announced it planned to offer a vaccine to all over 50s by April 15, and all adults by July 31. All this good news seems almost too good to be true. But let’s just bask in these rays of hope while we can. All we need now is for Rishi Sunak to use his budget to extend financial support to people in the sectors that cannot reopen imminently – they mustn’t be forgotten.
Exit plan: to the homeland?
We can have staycations too from April 12. I’d love to be able to go to Scotland and see my mum and sister. I haven’t been with them since September. But I’m not sure if this will be allowed by this point. In reality, it will most likely be later in May when my mum has had her second jab. This also ties in with Boris’s May 17 dateline for allowing six people or two households to meet indoors. But Nicola may have other ideas; she often does!
Five weeks on from May 17 takes us to June 21: freedom day.
That’s 110 days and counting…. we can do it!
Facts of the day
Cases worldwide: 111, 606, 254
Deaths worldwide: 2,470,466
UK cases: 4,138,225
UK deaths: 120,987
UK vaccinations: 17.7m
- Boris Johnson lays out his roadmap for England to exit Covid restrictions.
- Encouraging research shows the UK vaccines are providing a substantial level of protection against Covid-19 after just one dose.
- Test and vaccine certificates mentioned as a possible way to allow sectors to open.
- US nears 500,000 deaths while hospitalisations rise in France.
- In York, infection rates fall to near pre-Christmas levels: 68.4 people per 100,000 (it was 670 people per 100,000 at its peak in January 2021). There have been 28 new cases recorded, making a total of 11,749. There have been no more Covid deaths recorded at hospitals in the York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the last 24 hours. The latest data from NHS England shows that the total number of deaths related to the virus in the York trust remains at 565. The trust includes York Hospital and Scarborough.
Sources: Johns Hopkins covid map; The Guardian (theguardian.com) and The Press, York (thepress.co.uk)