What can we do from 12 April 2021? Covid rules changing in England today - from shops to pubs opening

Under the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown, significant restrictions ease from Monday

England has woken up to a further easing of its Covid lockdown rules today.

The country has entered the second step of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown from Monday 12 April.

Some coronavirus rules were relaxed in time for Easter, with people able to meet outdoors in groups of six from 29 March.

Hairdressers are set to reopen in England from 12 April (Getty Images)
Hairdressers are set to reopen in England from 12 April (Getty Images)
Hairdressers are set to reopen in England from 12 April (Getty Images)

This next cautious easing will see the return of non-essential shops, hairdressers, indoor leisure facilities, and the reopening of hospitality venues like pubs and restaurants.

So, what will we be able to do from 12 April in England?

Here is everything you need to know.

What could we already do?

What rules change in England from 12 April?
What rules change in England from 12 April?
What rules change in England from 12 April?

Step one of England’s roadmap out of lockdown has now been completed.

Schools were the first to reopen on 8 March, with all pupils in the country returning to classrooms from that date.

Care home residents were also permitted to receive one regular, named visitor from then.

Following that, the latest lockdown easing happened on 29 March.

As well as outdoor gatherings being permitted between up to six people or two households, outdoor sports were able to continue.

And the “stay at home” order came to an end, after it was replaced with new guidance to “stay local”.

There are at least five weeks between each step out of lockdown - allowing for four weeks to collect data and then a week for businesses to prepare to reopen.

What Covid rules will change from 12 April?

The next stage of lifting Covid restrictions started on 12 April.

Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday 5 April during a press conference that the changes would go ahead as planned from that date, despite a third wave of the virus sweeping Europe.

He said there was “nothing in the present data” to deviate from the proposed easing.

“We set out our road map and we’re sticking with it,” Mr Johnson said.

“And I want to stress that we see nothing in the present data that makes us think that we will have to deviate from that road map.

“But it is by being cautious, by monitoring the data at every stage and by following the rules – remembering hands, face, space, fresh air – that we hope together to make this road map to freedom irreversible.”

From Monday, most of the high street is set to reopen, which includes non-essential shops, libraries, hairdressers and nail salons.

Indoor leisure facilities, like gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen, along with outdoor attractions like zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas.

The domestic tourism industry will partially resume in the country from this date, with campsites, holiday lets and other forms of self-contained accommodation permitted to open back up.

Care home residents will also be allowed two regular visitors indoors.

And pubs and restaurants will be able to serve people outside, with customers able to have an alcoholic drink without ordering a substantial meal.

But indoor socialising will still be illegal with anyone outside your household or support bubble.

The same goes for international holidays, which may not be permitted until 17 May at the earliest.

What rules could change after that?

Step three of the lockdown roadmap isn’t expected to come into place until 17 May at least.

The further lifting of restrictions is still dependent on the prevalence of the virus in England, and the progress of the vaccinations programme, at the time.

But if the changes go ahead, up to 30 people from different households may be able to gather outside, while indoor gatherings with the rule of six, or two households, could be allowed.

Indoor hospitality might also reopen, along with indoor entertainment venues like cinemas and children’s play areas.

The government has also said it will provide updated advice on social distancing between friends and families no later than step three.

It is aiming to remove all legal limits on social distancing by 21 June, which would see the last sectors of the economy - like nightclubs and large events - reopen once more.