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All number limits on socialising both indoors and outdoors set to end in June

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David Dixon / Geograph

Boris Johnson has now outlined his full roadmap out of lockdown, confirming the plan to MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon.

The PM confirmed that the easing of restrictions would happen in four stages, and that if the roadmap goes to plan all limits on socialising will end on June 21st.

The process will begin with all schools in England reopening on March 8th. From the same date, people will also be able to meet outdoors and socialise with one person for ‘recreation’ – for coffee or a picnic, for example.

No10 / Flickr

Then from March 29th up to a maximum of six people – or two households – will be able to meet outside, with the ‘rule of six’ being reintroduced.

The next stage is expected to begin on April 12th at the earliest as the lockdown easing continues in five-week intervals, with the whole process stretching into June.

Hairdressers, beauty salons, and non-essential shops will reopen in stage two, as will pubs, restaurants and bars – but for outdoor service only.

Gyms, libraries, zoos, museums and theme parks will also reopen in this stage, but you can only go to any indoor setting with members of your own household.

David Dixon / Geograph

Stage three will happen no earlier than May 17th, with gatherings of up to 30 people outside allowed, the ‘rule of six’ introduced inside, as well as large-scale sports events and performances returning.

Stage four will happen no earlier than June 21st, and will see all number limits on socialising both indoors and outdoors removed, with the government hopeful nightclubs can reopen, and international travel could potentially resume.

This will be the final step, with the prime minister saying he hopes this will be ‘irreversible’, and it will see the limit on the numbers of people that can mix indoors or outdoors removed.

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The government is hopeful that nightclubs and other large-scale events like concerts will also be able to reopen in this stage.

Four reviews will also take place during stage four

  • The first will assess how long we will need to maintain both social distancing and face masks going forward

  • Number two will review international travel to see when it might resume. However, there will be a report by April 12th so people can plan for the summer, Mr Johnson said

  • Next will be a review to consider the potential role of Covid status certification to help venues open safely

  • Finally, the fourth review will look at the safe return of major events

All the dates are dependent on four tests being met, which are vaccination targets, the vaccine reducing hospitalisation and deaths, the pressure on the NHS, and new covid variants.

Any dates given are subject to these four tests being met.

You can see the full roadmap here.

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Sir David Amess MP has died after stabbing incident, police say

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Sir David Amess / Twitter & Richard Townshend

A Conservative MP has died after being stabbed multiple times in his constituency.

Sir David Amess was attacked during an incident at his constituency surgery, Sky News reported earlier this afternoon.

According to police, he was treated by emergency services but died at the scene.

Sir David represents Southend West in Essex, and was reportedly attacked at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

According to Sky News, a man walked into his constituency surgery and stabbed the MP multiple times.

He received treatment at the scene for his injuries, with emergency services at the scene.

The road surrounding the location has been closed off while the incident is dealt with. 

Police said in a statement: “A man has been arrested on suspicion murder after a man was stabbed in Leigh-on-Sea.

“We were called to an address in Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm today (Friday 15 October).

“We attended and found a man injured.

“He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene.

“A 25 year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.

“He is currently in custody.

“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.”

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Conservative MP Sir David Amess stabbed multiple times in ‘major incident’

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Richard Townshend

According to reports this afternoon, a Conservative MP has been stabbed multiple times in his constituency.

Sir David Amess was attacked during an incident at his constituency surgery, Sky News reports.

Sir David represents Southend West in Essex, and was reportedly attacked at the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.

According to Sky News, a man walked into his constituency surgery and stabbed the MP multiple times.

The latest updates suggest he has been receiving treatment at the scene for his injuries, and police are reportedly at the scene.

The road surrounding the location has been closed off while the incident is dealt with.

Essex Police have confirmed a man has now been arrested. 

They wrote on Twitter: “A man’s been arrested following an incident in Leigh-on-Sea.

“We were called to reports of a stabbing in Eastwood Rd North shortly after 12.05pm.

“A man was arrested shortly after & we’re not looking for anyone else.

“We’ll bring you more info when we have it.”

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The Manchester Christmas Markets is moving to Piccadilly Gardens this year

Big changes for the Christmas Markets this year…

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Manchester City Council & David Dixon / Geograph

Manchester’s beloved Christmas Markets are making a grand return to the city this year, but its main hub will be found in a different location.

While the heart of the markets is usually centered around Albert Square, ongoing renovations to the Town Hall have forced them to move to Piccadilly Gardens, the council have confirmed today.

The area will be transformed into the ‘Winter Gardens’, with all the usual yuletide bars, market stalls and food huts.

Plans for the Winter Gardens also include a one-way system and separate entrances and exits, as well as a strict limit on visitors to limit the spread of Covid-19.

David Dixon / Geograph

They are also adding a fully accessible toilet to make the Winter Garden as inclusive as possible.

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “It’s wonderful to welcome back our world-famous Christmas Markets and the addition of the Winter Gardens for the very first time.

“Manchester has been the capital of Christmas for twenty-two years since the very first Christmas Market arrived in the UK in 1999 and we know it was a huge disappointment that we had to scale back our celebrations last year.

“We’re making up for lost time this year and I can’t wait to see the transformation in the city centre into the festive wonderland we know and love.”

@mcrchristmasmarkets / Instagram

Last year, in what would have been the markets’ twenty-first birthday, the festivities were cancelled as a result of the pandemic, much to the dismay of Mancunians all across the region.

At the time, Councillor Karney said that even the proposed smaller markets didn’t meet public health approval, adding that the council ‘could never take any risks’ with people’s wellbeing.

He said: “We’ve cancelled everything. It’s not met our commercial and public health tests, so the three markets in those locations have been cancelled, and won’t take place. It was a million miles from the traditional Christmas Markets, which obviously people would have been very anxious about.”

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