Addressing the House of Commons, Johnson laid out his “roadmap” out of the lockdown, which includes four stages with five weeks in between.
As part of the first stage, Johnson said, “I can tell the House that two weeks’ from today pupils and students in all schools and further education settings can safely return to face-to-face teaching, supported by twice-weekly testing of secondary school and college pupils.”
University students whose courses require practical teaching, specialist facilities, or onsite assessments will also be able to return to their campuses, but others will have to continue online learning until after the Easter holidays at the earliest.
From March 8, people will be able to meet one person from outside their household for outdoor recreation.
From March 29, when schools go on Easter holidays, people will no longer be legally required to stay at home, and outdoor meetings of two households will be permitted.
During stage two of the roadmap, which will begin on April 12 at the earliest, non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality will reopen.
At stage three, which will begin no earlier than May 17, pubs and restaurants can open indoors, and cinemas and hotels will reopen.
If all goes well, all legal limits on social contact will possibly be removed from June 21 at the earliest, according to the roadmap.
Johnson said the threat from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus “remains substantial, with the numbers in hospital only now beginning to fall below the peak of the first wave in April.”
“But we are able to take these steps because of the resolve of the British public and the extraordinary success of our NHS in vaccinating more than 17.5 million people across the UK,” he said.
But he said “no vaccine can ever be 100 percent effective” and “we cannot escape the fact that lifting lockdown will result in more cases, more hospitalisations and sadly more deaths.”
With no prospects for “a Zero-COVID Britain or indeed a Zero-COVID world,” he said, “we cannot persist indefinitely with restrictions that debilitate our economy, our physical and mental well-being, and the life-chances of our children.”
Johnson said it is “crucial that this roadmap should be cautious but also irreversible.”
🚨British pubs and the UK hospitality industry have had a terrible year
😱660,000 jobs were lost
‼️40% of businesses are due to fail this year if we don’t start safely lifting restrictions once we have protected the vulnerable
— Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerHW) February 22, 2021
Some of his own backbench Conservative MPs have argued that the CCP virus restrictions should be lifted more quickly.
Steve Baker, deputy chair of the Tory party’s COVID Recovery Group (CRG), wrote on Twitter that pubs, restaurants, and the rest of the hospitality industry should be open by Easter.