British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday presented a plan to slowly lift the United Kingdom's lockdown — committing to allowing people to meet up outside in two weeks — but signaling a much longer wait for restaurant dining and even longer for international vacations.
On March 8, kids will be able to go back to school and Britons will be allowed to meet up with one friend or family member outdoors, The Associated Press reported. That will be followed by the reopening of outdoor dining at restaurants and pubs, as well as shops and hairdressers on April 12.
As for summer vacations, Johnson announced May 17 as the earliest date British citizens could go on an international getaway. Currently, anyone returning to the UK from abroad is required to either get tested prior to arrival and quarantine for several days before getting tested again, or quarantine in a hotel, depending on where they are coming from.
May 17 is also the date when indoor places like movie theaters and indoor dining at restaurants and bars would reopen.
Finally, limits on nightclubs as well as social contact are expected to be lifted by June 21.
"At every stage, our decisions will be led by data, not dates," Johnson said in an address to the House of Commons, according to The New York Times.
The country first entered its latest lockdown in January amid the emergence of a new variant of the coronavirus there, which has since spread to many countries, including the U.S.
The move to lift the lockdown comes as the UK continues to roll out vaccines, with a pair of studies released Monday showing the vaccines have led to a dramatic drop in illnesses and hospitalizations.
So far, Britain has given shots to more than 17 million people and has set a goal of vaccinating every adult by the end of July, The New York Times noted.
"We're setting out on what I hope and believe is a one-way journey to freedom," Johnson said. "And this journey is made possible by the pace of the vaccine program."
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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