The prime minister has today outlined his roadmap out of lockdown, revealing the plan to MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon.
Boris Johnson confirmed that the easing of restrictions would happen in four stages.
This will begin, as has already been widely reported, 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.
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.
As well as that, from the 29th outdoor sports facilities will be able to reopen, allowing sports like football, tennis and golf to be played.
From this date, people will no longer be required to ‘stay at home’, although some restrictions will remain in place.
The next stage is expected to begin on April 12th as the lockdown easing continues in five-week intervals, with the whole process potentially stretching into June.
Hairdressers, beauty salons, and non-essential shops will reopen in stage two, which will happen on April 12th at the earliest.
Pubs, restaurants and bars will also open in this stage, but for outdoor service only, meaning you can be in a group of up to six people from two different households in an outdoor area like a beer garden.
Mr Johnson also confirmed the unpopular rules on ‘substantial meals’ with pints and the 10pm curfew will be scrapped, but you will have to be sat to consume your food or drink.
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.
As for holidays, hotels, hostels, Airbnbs and self-catering holiday accommodation will also reopen but for household groups only.
Up to 30 people will be able to attend funerals, with the maximum number of people at a wake rising from six to 15.
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.
This stage will see up to 30 people being able to meet outdoors, including in outside areas at pubs and restaurants, with indoor social mixing allowed again – but only up to six people or two households.
Indoor exercise classes will be able to resume from this stage, as well as large-scale sporting events or performances – with up to 1,000 people allowed indoors and up to 4,000 (or the venue being half full) allowed outside.
The bigger football stadiums will be able to allow up to 10,000 fans (or a quarter of capacity), while 30 people will be allowed to attend weddings, receptions, funerals, wakes and christenings.
Stage four will happen no earlier than June 21st, and will see all number limits on socialising removed, with the government hopeful nightclubs can reopen, and international travel could 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.
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.
Manchester’s derelict arches set to be transformed into food, drink and retail destination
The plans will transform the empty site into a trendy new hangout for tenants and working professionals
Several derelict railway arches in a forgotten corner of Manchester are set to become a new food, drink, leisure and retail destination.
The council have granted planning permission to revamp the 10 arches, located on Corporation Street in Red Bank, with the project to be undertaken by The Arch Company – which has also secured permission from Salford Council to transform a further 10 arches, located on Norton Street in the Green Quarter.
The vision is to turn the area, near Angel Meadow, into a street of arches that appeal to potential residents looking to move to a trendy area, with plenty to do, in the city.
The company has pitched the development as a plan to transform the arches into a new destination ‘for food and drink, leisure and retail businesses to occupy’, while respecting and maintaining the city’s industrial history.
Santosh Patel, from Pick Everard – the construction consultants brought into the project – said: “Manchester is famously proud of its industrial heritage, and this project not only maintains and celebrates that history, but rejuvenates it in an exciting and innovative way to bring added social value to the city’s modern landscape and its residents.
“Seeing this project to completion will bring a new offering to Manchester, further regenerating its town centre in a way that makes sense within its larger community.”
“The new spaces present a great opportunity for independent retail, restaurant, and other leisure businesses to develop in an area that will grow and thrive with them,” he added.
However, breathing new life into deteriorating Victorian railway arches will not be without its challenges as Alan Soper, studio director at SGP, highlighted that one issue on Corporation Street was ‘substantial level differences from the front to the rear of many of the units’.
He added that ‘clever design’ was needed for requirements like fire escapes — because the arches back on to the River Irk, so an exit route can only go through the front.
Mr Soper said: “By any standards, arches are not a ‘normal’ building type and each can differ considerably in height, depth and shape, realising the potential of these previously overlooked spaces takes experience and good technical know-how if we are to refurbish them to modern occupancy standards.”
“Our previous experience with old, historic or listed properties, and the ability to work within the existing building fabric, has proved invaluable in realising some of these schemes, as, too, has our technical knowledge of building regulations, particularly in relation to ventilation and fire security,” he added.
Both the Manchester and Salford arches developments form part of Project 1000, The Arch Company’s £200m plan to bring 1,000 empty or derelict spaces into use across England and Wales by 2030.
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Urgent appeal to find missing teenager from Stretford
Have you seen Leon?
Concerns grow as police make an urgent appeal to find a missing teenage boy from Trafford.
Leon, 17, was last seen on Gorse Street in Stretford at 8.30pm on Saturday, February 24th.
He is described as being 5 ft 7 ins tall, with brown hair and glasses.
Leon was last seen wearing a black and green jacket, red hoodie, grey jogging bottoms and black trainers.
Greater Manchester Police officers are becoming increasingly concerned about Leon and want to make sure that he is safe and well.
Anyone with information about Leon’s whereabouts should contact police on 101 quoting log 1654 of 25/02/24.
Man, 27, killed after Audi crashes into wall as police appeal for information
A 27-year-old man has been arrested
Police are appealing for information after a man was killed when a car smashed into a wall in Stockport.
A 27-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the tragic incident.
An Audi S3 was travelling North East along Broadstone Road on Saturday night when it collided with the Houldsworth Mill external perimeter wall, opposite the Grey Horse Public House, police said.
The man, a 27-year-old passenger, sadly died in the collision which happened at around 6pm on Saturday, February 24th.
Emergency services rushed to attend the scene of the incident but the passenger sadly passed away. The man’s next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.
The driver of the vehicle, a 27-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remains in custody while enquiries continue.
Greater Manchester Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit (SCIU) are now appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the incident to make a report.
They are also keen to speak to anyone who may have any footage – including dashcam, CCTV, or mobile phone footage – from the area in the moments leading up to the collision.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 4741, quoting log number 2429 of 25/02/24.
Information can also be shared using GMP’s ‘tell us about’ tool or LiveChat function on the force’s website: www.gmp.police.uk.