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Will you be taking advantage of lockdown easing?

Outdoor sports and socialising resume as England’s lockdown eases

People across England have begun taking advantage of the relaxation of lockdown measures as outdoor gatherings and sport events resumed but is it too much too soon?

Groups of up to six, or two households, can socialise in parks and gardens once more, while outdoor sports facilities can reopen after the stay-at-home order ended on Monday.

A group of golfers greeted the easing of coronavirus restrictions by hitting the fairways at just after midnight.

Seven teams used glow-in-the-dark balls and floodlit greens at the Morley Hayes Golf Club, near Derby, with their opening drives coming at 12.01am.

Swimmers returned to outdoor pools and those taking advantage of the relaxation in the lockdown will enjoy balmy weather across parts of England, with temperatures in parts of south-east England rising to 24C by Tuesday.

Glenn Earlam, chief executive of gym chain David Lloyd, which reopened outdoor facilities at 79 of its clubs in England, said people were “just desperate to get out of their houses and go and do something different”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there were “big marquees outside the clubs in the grounds and the sides of those marquees will be open to let the air come through, but you’ll be covered in case it chucks it down with rain”.

English Heritage was also reopening some of its outdoor spaces include the grounds of Dover Castle in Kent, the Battle of Hastings site in East Sussex, Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire, and the Osborne House site on the Isle of Wight.

After months of being told to stay at home, she said people were “desperate to get back to their local sites after what has been a very long winter for many and get that lift that they need from visiting some spectacular locations”.

Boris Johnson stressed that “we must remain cautious, with cases rising across Europe and new variants threatening our vaccine rollout” as the latest step on his road map out of lockdown was reached.

“Despite today’s easements, everyone must continue to stick to the rules, remember hands, face, space, and come forward for a vaccine when called,” the Prime Minister added.

Mr Johnson, who will hold a press conference later on Monday, said that as vaccines were rolled out “it’s vital that we don’t overdo it and risk all the progress we’ve made”.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, a member of the Sage advisory panel and former chief scientific adviser,  said that there is “good reason to be cautious” as restrictions are eased, with concerns about mounting cases on the continent.

He told Times Radio: “Just across the Channel we are seeing many European countries well into a third wave of infection.

“The average number of cases per day is about 5,000 in the UK – and is rather persistently stuck there at the moment – in France the average number of cases is nearly 37,000 cases a day.

“The risk of the moment is that the South African variant becomes more prevalent, as it is in some parts of Europe.”

Runners in Rothwell

People taking part in a Boot Camp exercise class in Springhead Park, Rothwell, Leeds

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said the easing of measures amounted to “cautious baby steps” out of lockdown and warned the police would intervene if people breached the rules.

He told Sky News: “The vast majority of people absolutely stick to the rules and actually there’s a fair bit of self-policing that goes on as well.

“But indeed if there are breaches, then the police can intervene and fine and they’ll continue to do so where that’s the case, but the message very clearly and hence the new message today actually is making sure that it’s very much about outdoors and open space.”

Football and cricket pitches, tennis and basketball courts, outdoor swimming pools, golf courses and sailing clubs are now free to reopen after months of being shuttered.

Easing the lockdown in England

Organised team sports can also resume outdoors, meaning grassroots competitions can take place ahead of the Easter break without the need for social distancing.

Restrictions were eased as official figures showed more than 30 million people in the UK have received a first vaccine dose, accounting for about 57% of all adults.

A new slogan was also unveiled to stress the importance of ventilation in reducing the spread of the virus: “Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air.”

A public information campaign warns against the dangers of gathering indoors, with a psychologist giving advice on how to deal with friends and family who suggest breaking the rules, saying people may need to be “firm” and give “gentle reminders” about distancing.

In Wales, the “stay local” order ended on Saturday and people were allowed to stay in self-contained holiday accommodation.

The stay home order in Scotland is to end on Friday, while in Northern Ireland up to six people, or two households, will be able to meet outdoors from Thursday.

Coronavirus – Mon Mar 29, 2021

A swimmer after an early morning dip at Hillingdon Lido, Uxbridge

While greater outdoor freedoms are now permitted, the Government is still advising people to work from home where possible and minimise the number of journeys they take.

The next step in the road map to easing England’s lockdown is April 12, which is earmarked for non-essential shops to reopen and for outdoor hospitality, including pubs and restaurants.

Are you happy to be able to meet more people and play sport again or do you think we should keep strict lockdown measures until the majority have had the vaccine? Are we likely to proceed cautiously or do you believe we will overdo it and risk the progress we’ve made?

Will you be taking advantage of lockdown easing?

782 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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olivep
6th Apr 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
Yes, I will - but everything has to be done slowly and I dont have a problem with that if its going to help us get back to some sort of normality - roll on June 21st.
Not2grey
1st Apr 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
I have met up with my sister in law and husband , we sat in their really large garden and it was wonderful . I also invited my neighbour round into my garden for and fternoo chin wag and a coffee . All socially distanced . Really enjoyable . My blood boils when I see on the TV the mountains of litter left behind by selfish people who ignored the advice . If we get a third wave they will be responsible .
Nanna_Gez
1st Apr 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
We are a social nation and need the company of others, this last lock down has affected my mental health greatly and I believe this is the same for thousands of others.
I'm a family person and as long as I can see my daughters, grandchildren and friends I will be happy . One thing I would suggest is banning drinking alcohol in public places, after seeing the awful scenes in two of Nottinghams parks this past weekend, disgusting behaviour and now these incidents have spoilt it for families to enjoy what has probably been their sanctuary over the past 22 months
Nanna_Gez
1st Apr 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
Supposed to read 12 months not 22 ‍♀️
JE
30th Mar 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
I think that we have to start taking small steps otherwise we will all become recluses. Still too many idiots about so need to take precautions but we must try and get some sort of normality back into our lives.
jeanmark
29th Mar 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
With the shielding finishing for the clinically extremely vulnerable on 1 April, I'll remain cautious and make my own assessment of risk, at least my hairdresser is safe!
JuneB26
29th Mar 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
If we don’t get out and about ( in Wales and Uk ) now , we never will , I personally think we just have to get on with our lives some people are going to be too scared to go out and this is a sad state to be in I go for a walk every day ( taking all necessary precautions) and I’m nearly 83 yrs but I have friends who have been scared to go into their own gardens! What sort of life is that ? We have to make the most of what time we have left!
LizH25
29th Mar 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Won’t be making much of a change. The only thing we will definitely be doing is having family in the back garden.
Wilf
29th Mar 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
Sounds a bit like us. No real changes until we see whats happening
Ktrott1998
29th Mar 2021
2
Thanks for voting!
I will still be avoiding going out unless I have to, but I will be taking the opportunity to see my family.
Mabel06
29th Mar 2021
1
Thanks for voting!
I'm with you Marley444. I'm in no great hurry to meet anyone. I'm happy to keep myself to myself, especially until we know more about the South African variant that's heading to our shores.

I also think that Boris could have waited a few more weeks at least until the over 40s had been vaccinated. I have family members who are between 40 and 50 and they are extremely worried as they have older school age children and are in the age bracket who could be hospitalised with this awful virus.
Marley444
29th Mar 2021
4
Thanks for voting!
Is it just me? I have got so used to not seeing anyone or going anywhere I haven't got a burning desire to change my habits today - feel I may be stuck in a rut!
Bald123
29th Mar 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
I am staying isolated for the time being as last summer was an eye opener with Rishi asking us all to go out and enjoy ourselves and then another lockdown happened. Lets wait and see.
MrsPat
29th Mar 2021
3
Thanks for voting!
We are seeing our close friends this weekend in the garden. No more Zooming but meeting real peeps.
Munsterlander
29th Mar 2021
5
Thanks for voting!
We are going to start going out and about, following the rules and just starting to enjoy life again.
LizH25
29th Mar 2021
1
Thanks for voting!

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