Coronavirus: The 9 biggest changes we can expect from Boris Johnson’s announcement

Boris Johnson is set to address the nation to detail his plan to ease the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The Prime Minister will outline his “road map” to a new normality in his address to the nation at 7pm.

Britain’s route out of coronavirus lockdown is a five-stage plan staggered over the next six months.

The Prime Minister has said the first steps will happen the next day “if we possibly can”.

Ahead of the speech the PM tweeted out six updated coronavirus rules.

The Prime Minister included the government’s new slogan ‘stay alert, control the virus, save lives’ in his tweet despite widespread criticism about its ambiguity from politicians and the public today.

The previous “stay home” slogan has been dropped ahead of the unveiling of the government’s plans to gradually ease the lockdown over the next few months.

1) Unlimited exercise

Brits will be able to enjoy unlimited exercise from next week according to a draft 50-page plan to take the country out of lockdown.

Since March 23 exercise outside the confines of the home has been limited to just one hour a day, though it is expected to be one of the first restrictions lifted by Boris Johnson.

The Prime Minister is also expected to allow Brits to sunbathe in their local parks – as long as they are apart from other people.

Playing sports with their own household will be allowed and driving somewhere for a walk or run will also be ok under the new guidelines.

For updates on coronavirus, follow our live blog HERE.

2) Garden centres

One of the only things we do know ahead of the speech is that garden centres in England will be allowed to reopen with distancing measures in place from next week, according to a senior government source.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has said garden centres in Wales will be able to reopen next week.

Mr Drakeford said on Saturday this is “very much in line” with Mr Johnson’s plans – so expect to hear something similar from the PM.

It has been made clear that one of the most likely restrictions to be eased first is to do with outdoor activities, as there is less risk of transmission here than indoors.

At the moment you’re allowed to go for a run, walk or cycle ride once a day.

3) Outdoor workplaces could get back to business

Construction sites have kept working during the lockdown

As with outdoor exercise, outdoor working will have less chance of transmission that indoors.

Building sites were never told to close under lockdown guidance – as long as two metres could be kept between workers – so the government is expected to make a renewed push for people to return to work there.

But there will be more guidance on how employers can protect staff amid concern from the unions that their members could be put in danger.

4) More guidance on the use of outdoor spaces

This will include open-air markets, high streets and cemeteries.

Experts believe the virus does not spread as quickly in the open air so the government want to begin to look at other spaces which the public could access safely.

5) Churches and other places of worship

Churches across the country are closing due to the coronavirus pandemic

The Government could allow places of worship, including churches and mosques, to open for private prayer but not for gatherings of groups.

The Muslim Council of Britain, the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella organisation, is consulting its members before issuing guidance this weekend for mosques that are considering reopening.

“The majority of the mosques that we have consulted are of the view that they do not wish to open during Ramadan,” an MCB spokesman said.

“We do not want to be the ones who cause harm to others.”

The Rt Rev Sarah Mullally, the Bishop of London, is leading the Church of England’s planning for reopening its buildings. She said there would have to be significant changes to key aspects of Christian worship “for some time” to come.

“I don’t envisage, even up to the end of the year, we will be back to our normal services.

“We’ll have some churches doing things differently. And of course, this approach will depend on the part of the country you are in. Being in Devon is very different to being in the centre of London. So we need to approach this based on our local circumstances,” she said.

“There are some very challenging questions that we’ll have to face, not least about singing and about the receiving of Holy Communion. So the future will look different.

“But we want to continue to support people in their spiritual journey with their faith,” she told the BBC.

“When we open our church buildings, we will still have to ensure physical distancing. We’ll have to make sure people can wash their hands on the way in and on the way out. We are likely not to be able to use hymn books or service sheets or sing.”

6) Libraries and council-run tips

Local authorities will also be able to begin planning how to open libraries and municipal recycling centres.

Some English councils have already begun reopening tips but with strict social distancing measures in place.

7) New train timetables and more made available

Manchester Piccadilly railway station

As restrictions are eased there will no doubt be more people on public transport.

Rail services are set to increase to about 70% of the normal timetable later this month as part of the gradual easing of the lockdown, it is reported.

Sources told PA there will be a gradual increase from May 18.

Rail unions have been involved in talks about the safety of workers and passengers when more trains run.

Some areas might see a return of similar services to a Saturday.

Rail bosses and Government sources told the BBC that services will be increased to about 70% of the normal timetable – from about 50% – to ensure the railways are able to cope with a rise in passengers as people return to work.

8) Plans for schools to reopen

The blueprint outlines a phased return of primary schools in England from the start of June, starting with Year 6.

Pupils will have to observe social distancing as much as possible which could mean spread out desks and fewer children in a classroom at one time.

According to the five-stage plan, a phased return of secondary schools in England would begin before the summer holidays.

But, like most of the measures, it depends on the infection rate continuing to fall.

9) More routine NHS services resumed

The NHS has been adamant at stressing people should seek medical attention if necessary, and not to worry about coming to A&E because of coronavirus.

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Coronavirus outbreak

Some routine operations and fertility treatments have already been restored as hospital inpatients fell for several weeks in a row.

It’s not yet clear when other services will continue, but some that don’t involve too much contact may resume soon.


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