PRIME Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the next stage of lockdown lifting will commence on Monday as planned.

Speaking during a press conference at 10 Downing Street, he announced that non-essential shops, hairdressers and gyms can reopen their doors.

Hospitality venues will also be able to serve people outdoors only, with there being no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol and no curfew.

Mr Johnson also confirmed that he too will be visiting a pub on Monday for a pint of beer.

“I want to thank you all for your patience, because it is clear this is paying off,” he said.

“Our collective efforts are giving us the crucial time and space to vaccinate people.

“The net result of your efforts and of course the vaccine rollout is that I can today confirm that from Monday, we will move to step two of our road map.

“On Monday, I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips.”

Mr Johnson said the lockdown changes in England were ‘fully justified’, but he urged the public not to be complacent.

He added: “We think that these changes are fully justified by the data, which shows that we are meeting our four tests for easing the lockdown.

Winsford Guardian: Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Witty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick VallanceChief Medical Officer Professor Chris Witty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance

“But – and you know I’m going to say this – we cannot be complacent.

“We can see the waves of sickness afflicting other countries and we have seen how this story goes.

“We still do not know how strong the vaccine shield will be when cases begin to rise, as I am afraid they will, and that is why we are saying please get your vaccine or your second dose when the turn comes and please use the free NHS tests even if you do not feel ill.

“We set out our roadmap and are sticking to it, and I want to stress that we see nothing in the present data that makes us think that we will have to deviate from that road map.

“But it is by being cautious, by monitoring the data at every stage and by following the rules – remembering hand, face, space, fresh air – that we hope together to make this road map to freedom irreversible.”

Also speaking during the press conference, England’s chief medical officer said it is ‘vital’ that people take up the offer of a second vaccine dose to increase their level of protection against Covid-19.

Professor Chris Whitty explained that data from across the UK showed an estimated 60 per cent reduction in symptomatic disease in those who had been vaccinated.

There was also an 80 per cent reduction in hospitalisations among those who had received their first dose.

He said: “That makes two points, firstly that these vaccines are highly effective, but secondly, they are not completely effective.

“And it is absolutely essential that everybody, as the Prime Minister has said, who is called for a second booster dose goes to take that offer up, because it will increase the level of protection and almost certainly increase the duration of protection as well.”

From Monday (April 12):

  • Non-essential shops and close-contact services such as hairdressers and barbers can reopen
  • Restaurants and pubs can start serving customers outdoors, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcohol, and no curfew.
  • However, people will have to eat and drink while seated
  • Gyms and spas can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres
  • Members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation
  • Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place
  • The number of care home visitors allowed will increase to two per resident
  • All children will be able to attend any indoor children's activity, including sport Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five years old) can restart indoors
  • People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise domestic travel. International holidays are still illegal.
  • Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to six people or two households and you must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with or have not formed a support bubble with.