What is level two of UK lockdown and what will happen in the next phase?

26 May 2020, 13:16

What are the plans for the next phase of lockdown and when will measures be eased?

The UK has been in lockdown since 23 March, with the public being told at that time to stay at home to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

On 10 May, in a televised address to the nation, Boris Johnson announced that lockdown would be eased in 'phases' - beginning with the introduction of unlimited exercise and the public being told that they could return to work if they could not work from home.

Phase two of coronavirus lockdown is due to be enacted in England next month, but it does not apply to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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What is phase two of lockdown and what does it mean for schools?

From June 1, further lockdown measures - including the reopening of schools for some pupils and some shops - will be introduced in England.

The government strategy states: "Schools should prepare to begin to open for more children from 1 June. The Government expects children to be able to return to early years settings, and for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to be back in school in smaller sizes, from this point."

This plan has been met by considerable resistance from staff and parents, however, and the government have since stated that that the June 1 date won't be 'uniform' for pupils.

Schools in the UK have been closed since March 20
Schools in the UK have been closed since March 20. Picture: Getty

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told BBC Breakfast last Wednesday: "I don’t think any of us want to put either children or our dedicated teaching staff in any danger at all, and the question of being safe is clearly paramount.

"So we’re all working towards June 1 and planning for that return, but I accept the point that there may well be issues from employers that need to be addressed which might not mean we’ll see a uniform approach on June 1."

Speaking at the daily press conference on Sunday 24 May, Boris Johnson confirmed that schools will indeed reopen on that date - for early years pupils, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

And on June 15, up to a quarter of Year 10 and Year 12 will be allowed "some contact" with teachers at school.

He said that schools reopening was a crucial part of the next phase of the pandemic, saying: "the education of our children is crucial for their welfare, their health, their long-term future and for social justice.

Read more: Summer holidays 'should be cancelled' for kids to catch up, says former Ofsted boss

"So in line with the decisions taken in many other countries, we want to start getting our children back into the classroom in a way that is as manageable and as safe as possible.

What shops will open in phase two of lockdown?

It was announced yesterday that some non-essential shops - including clothing, toy and homeware stores, as well as outdoor markets and car show rooms - will be allowed to open next month as part of the new phase.

Speaking in the daily press conference, Boris Johnson said that people should "get out and enjoy themselves in the open air from June 1" if they can.

He added: “I am certainly not going to discourage them from spending at all.

"It is early days but we are very much hoping there will be a bounce back over the course of the next few months."

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