Shops, gyms and beer gardens could re-open from 12 April under England lockdown easing plan

Shops, gyms and beer gardens could re-open from 12 April under England lockdown easing plan
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Mon 22nd Feb 2021

Non-essential retail, gyms, hairdressers and outdoor hospitality will reopen in England on 12 April if four key tests are met, the prime minister has revealed.

Announcing the lockdown easing 'roadmap', Boris Johnson said the government aims for the plan to "cautious but irreversible" with each stage led by "data not dates".

The changes are dependent on the coronavirus vaccine programme staying on track, evidence showing the vaccines are reducing deaths and need for hospital treatment, there is no surge in hospital admissions and new virus variants do not increase the risk of removing restrictions.

The four step plan begins on 8 March when all schools in England will reopen. Two people will also be able to meet in outdoor public spaces such as a park for recreation.

From 29 March, outdoor gatherings of six people or two households will be permitted, as will using outdoor sport facilities such as tennis and basketball courts.

The 'stay at home' order will also be removed on 29 March but Johnson said people should "continue to work from home where they can and minimise all travel wherever possible".

What the roadmap means for businesses

The second stage of the plan begins on 12 April at the earliest when the following will be able to reopen if the four tests are met:

  • Non-essential shops and personal case services such as hairdressers and nailbars.

  • Outdoor beer gardens can reopen for two households or the 'rule of 'six'.

  • Other outdoor venues such as alcohol takeaways, zoos and theme parks can reopen.

  • Public libraries and community centres.

  • Indoor leisure businesses such as gyms and swimming pools.

  • Self-contained holiday accommodation.

For outdoor hospitality, curfews and the requirement to eat a substantial meal will be removed but table service remains compulsory.
England lockdown easing roadmap
Step three is from 17 May. If the conditions are met, the following will apply:

  • Indoor hospitality can reopen for two households or the 'rule of six'.

  • Indoor entertainment such as museums, cinemas and children's play areas can reopen.

  • Remaining accomodation including hotels, holiday parks, B&Bs and hostels can reopen.

  • Some controlled indoor events (including conferences, theatre, concerts and sport) of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue's capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 50% or 4,000 people, whichever is lower. Large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25% of total seated capacity, whichever is lower, can also take place.

  • Up to 30 people can attend weddings and funerals.

For hospitality, curfews and the requirement to eat a substantial meal will be removed but table service remains compulsory.

England lockdown easing roadmap
The fourth and final step is from 21 June when all limits on social contact will be removed and the remaining businesses, such as nightclubs, can reopen. The limits on attendance at weddings and funerals will also stop.

England lockdown easing roadmap

Support for businesses

The full lockdown easing document says: "As restrictions ease and the economy is gradually and safely reopened, the government will carefully tailor the level of support to individuals and businesses to reflect the changing circumstances."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce more details during the Budget on 3 March. Sign up to take part in Enterprise Nation's live coverage.

Enterprise Nation's reaction

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: "We welcome this roadmap - and the indication that there will be a great re-opening of the economy.

"Small businesses tell us the thing they want is a safe return to work and confidence to encourage consumers to spend. This feels like a steady and considered approach which is needed.

"The commitment to continued support is also helpful. Based on this, businesses will start to make solid plans. For some, this will require testing physical retail for the first time to meet customers to whom they have sold over the past 12 months, for others it will be advice on how to build new revenue streams into their business, and for all it will require ongoing training and support on how to continue to make the most of online tools and trade."

ready to re-open

The latest coronavirus support information

We are keeping you updated on the latest information on how to access the government's coronavirus business support here. You can also find advice and ask a question on Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.