Posted: 22.02.21 at 16:31 by The Editor
AS expected children are set to be readmitted to borough schools next month.
Addressing Parliament this afternoon Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined a four-step plan to release England from lockdown.
The first step, with effect from Monday, 8 March, will see schools reopening and two people allowed to meet outdoors for a chat.
From 29 March, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed.
Outdoor sports, including football, golf and tennis, will be allowed to resume from 29 March as well though that is likely to be too late for the local non-League football season with borough sides East Thurrock United, Grays Athletic, Aveley and Tilbury all part of the Isthmian Football League which is set to declare the season null and void.
Following the timetable shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality will reopen from 12 April in England. Local pubs will be allowed to use their outdoor areas but a full reopening of pubs, bars and restaurants is not expected until mid May with many social contact rules lifted, as well as limited mixing indoors.
It is not expected that there will be a repetition of previous rules which meant indoor venues could only sell alcohol if it accompanied meals.
However, there are still a great many concerns from the hospitality sector that the continued delay is too long. Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UK Hospitality, has warned that for pubs and restaurants to open "outdoors only is is not economically feasible and delaying opening until May without significant additional compensation will see large numbers of business failures and job losses”.
Mr Johnson says he hopes that step four, from 21 June, would see the end of all legal limits on social contact.