Reaction across the South East to Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown

All aspects of England's society could reopen on June 21, Boris Johnson has announced, so long as the battle against coronavirus continues to go to plan.

The prime minister, laying out his roadmap out of lockdown to MPs in the Commons on Monday, gave a step-by-step plan for lifting restrictions in England, with all limits on social contact set to be removed by June 21 at the earliest.

Nightclubs could be permitted to reopen on June 21 under Mr Johnson's plan, having been shut since the first lockdown in March 2020. Outdoor hospitality including pubs could reopen as early as April 12, with indoor hospitality opening no earlier than May 17.

Non-essential shops could reopen on April 12 Credit: ITV News Meridian

The stay at home order will be lifted on March 29.

Self-contained holidays within the UK could be permitted as early as April 12, as well as indoor leisure facilities such as gyms, plus hairdressers and non-essential retail.

The PM has warned, however, that each reopening date is based on the best case scenario and every aspect of the plan is subject to delay.


Boris Johnson's four stage roadmap out of lockdown:

  • Step 1 (part one) - March 8

- All schools and colleges will reopen, as well as after school clubs

- One plus one recreation will be allowed; for example, people will be permitted to meet one other person from outside their household to socialise

- Stay at home order will remain

  • Step 1 (part two) - March 27, at the earliest

- Rule of six to return for outdoor meetings, including private gardens as will two household rule.

- Outdoor sports facilities to reopen

- Stay at home order to end

  • Step 2 - No earlier than April 12

- Non-essential retail and personal care such as hairdressers to reopen

- Public buildings such as museums and libraries will return

- Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will reopen

- Outdoor hospitality will reopen but customers must be seated

- No requirement for a substantial meal to purchase alcohol and no curfews on opening times

- Self-contained holidays within the UK to be allowed

  • Step 3 - May 17 at the earliest

- Most restrictions on outdoor socialising to be removed; no more rule of six

- Gatherings of more than 30 will still be illegal

- Indoor mixing to be allowed with rule of six or two households

- Indoor hospitality can reopen with same restrictions

- Sporting events can resume with spectators, though there will be restrictions

- Weddings will be allowed with up to 30 people

  • Step 4 - No sooner than June 21

- All limits on social contact, such as rule of six, to be removed for both indoor and outdoor settings

- Rest of society to reopen, such as nightclubs and other businesses which did not reopen following first lockdown

The changes apply for England only, though leaders of devolved administrations have been in contact to coordinate a lifting of restrictions.


  • Schools

There has been mixed reaction across the South East to the announcement that all school children in England will return to class from March 8.

The staff at Herne Junior School in Petersfield are already preparing for a full reopening in two weeks time.

Headteacher of the school, Tony Markham, believes it would have been better to bring the children back in a "staggered way".

He added: "I'd like all the staff in the school to be vaccinated and with the way things are rolling out, that's doable."

The Headteacher at St Wilfrid's Catholic School in Crawley, Michael Ferry, says he is "astounded" at the decision to reopen to all pupils.


I'm very surprised, I'm astounded really. If you look at the figures in September, the figures started to rise as soon as schools came back. At the moment, we have more deaths per day than we had in the summer last year when we reopened our doors to years 10 and 12.

Michael Ferry, Headteacher, St Wilfrid's Catholic School

Julie McCulloch from the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "We share the government's ambition to get children and young people back into our schools and colleges as soon as we possibly can, but we want to make sure that this is done in a way that is sustainable that doesn't lead to children yo-yoing in and out of school as we saw too much towards the end of the autumn term."

It is understood the four tests the government are watching are currently being met which justifies the swift reopening of schools.

On March 8 all schools and colleges will reopen, as well as after school clubs Credit: ITV News Meridian

Vaccines deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi defended reopening all schools on 8 March.

He told ITV News the government would set out guidelines for schools to follow when they open their doors again.

"We think this is the right way to open schools, they have to be the priority, children have to get back into face-to-face physical education, that is the right thing to do," Mr Zahawi said.

"The guidance will set out exactly how we will do that safely and deliberately cautiously."


The four tests the government is basing lockdown lifting on:

  • The vaccine deployment 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

  • An increase or discovery of any variant of concern does not change the government's assessment of the risks


  • Hospitality

Outdoor hospitality including pubs could reopen as early as April 12, with indoor hospitality opening no earlier than May 17.

Bournemouth restaurant owner, Andy Lennox, says the sooner businesses like his can open, the better.


There's some kind of public perception, or within SAGE, that we're unsafe. We try so hard to mitigate that. Essentially for us, let us trade. We don't want handouts, we're entrepreneurs, we're trailblazers, we hate the fact of even asking for a grant. Quite frankly, at the moment, it's not looking pretty.

Andy Lennox, Restaurant Owner

But Ged Gorrie, who only opened his pub in Southampton 15 months ago, says it is "naive to think it could happen sooner".


There's been the odd moment when I thought - what did I do? I would like to see certainty for the long-term future. If that means staying closed for three more months then so be it. It's naive to think it could happen sooner.

Ged Gorrie, Pub owner

  • Non-essential retail

No earlier than April 12, will see non-essential shops, hairdressers and gyms re-open.

The owner of gift shop Mooch in Andover, Georgina Roberts says she's "disappointed" that non-essential retailers cannot open sooner than April 12.


We still have the rent to pay, we still have ongoing commitments with things like credit card machines, phones. The whole thing of running a shop is not just employing people, it's a massive amount of money every month, and I'm very disappointed that we haven't been allowed to reopen.

Georgina Roberts, Owner, Mooch

Adam Jacobs, from Jacobs the Jewellers in Reading, echoes that feeling saying he will be "delighted" to get back to serving customers again.


The crux of the business is that we love serving customers and we can't wait to get back to that. I've been talking to my team regularly over all the different lockdowns over the last year and they're all keen as mustard to get back in and start working. As soon as we can we'll be delighted to get back in and start working again.

Adam Jacobs, Jacobs the Jewellers

  • Gyms

While the rules surrounding some outdoor exercise will be relaxed towards the end of March, there is still no exact date for gyms and leisure centres to reopen.

Dan Ripman owns Alpha Fitness in Hampshire, he says it is vital to get people back to exercising as soon as possible, for their mental wellbeing as well as their physical fitness. 


Exercise is massively important to a large number of people for the physical and mental benefits of it as well. It's really important we can get people back in [gyms] safely as quickly as possible so they can get back into their routines and just improve their all-round wellbeing at the moment.

Dan Ripman, Alpha Fitness