England is on track to lift all COVID-19 restrictions as planned on 21st of June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
Back in February, the UK Government outlined its roadmap for lifting the coronavirus lockdown in line with the ongoing vaccine rollout. If all goes to plan, it is hoped that on 21st June, all restrictions on social contact will able to be lifted, which means that nightclubs across the country will be able to open their doors for the first time since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday (20th April), the PM said he could see “nothing in the data now that makes me think we are going to have to deviate in any way from the roadmap – cautious but irreversible – that we have set out.”
The “cautious but irreversible” four-step roadmap has already seen parts of the hospitality and service sectors in England reopening with social distancing and capacity restrictions remaining in place.
Most recently, on 12th April, venues, pubs, bars and restaurants with outdoor areas were given permission to reopen, which has corresponded with the launch of several new spaces, including east London’s The Lot and Colour Garden.
Johnson said that scientists are “firmly of the view that there will be another wave of COVID at some stage this year”, and that we “must as far as possible learn to live with this disease as we live with other diseases”. He announced further plans to “bolster defenses” with “booster jabs” in the Autumn, as well as a new taskforce who will work on “promising new medicines” to help fight coronavirus.
The news comes as Scotland also lays out its plans to lift lockdown restrictions, which will see music venues and festivals able to return at reduced capacities from 17th May.
Several pilot events, including two 3000-person club events in Liverpool, will take place this month as a way of testing and studying the best and safest ways of reopening indoor spaces as lockdown eases.
While the news that England is on its way to reopening its music sector in time for summer is promising, concerns have mounted in recent weeks that many festivals will be forced to cancel their 2021 editions due to a lack of government-backed COVID insurance. Earlier this week, Boomtown Fair, which sold out in record time just last month, was forced to cancel for the second year in a row due to the lack of financial security that COVID cancellation insurance would provide.
A number of festivals and events bodies, such as the Association of Independent Festivals, have been lobbying the UK government to introduce an insurance scheme for months to no avail. Similar government-backed schemes have already been set up in the Netherlands and Germany to give organisers of large-scale events this summer more peace of mind in pressing forward with their plans.
Last month, culture minister Caroline Dinenage said the government was reluctant to introduce a scheme that would give the UK’s events sector ‘false hope’.
BREAKING: Prime Minister Boris Johnson says scientists are “firmly of the view there will be another wave of COVID at some stage this year”, and announces a new taskforce to search for “promising new medicines” to fight coronavirus.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 20, 2021