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Last reviewed on 7 April

Roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions

The government has announced its plan for easing COVID-19 restrictions in four stages, with the aim of lifting all lockdown restrictions by 21 June at the earliest.

Stage two

12 April:

  • All shops can open.
  • Restaurants and pub gardens can serve customers sitting outdoors, including alcohol.
  • Libraries and community centres can reopen.
  • Gyms and spas can reopen for individuals and households.
  • Hairdressers, beauty salons and other close-contact services can reopen.
  • UK overnight stays away from home are permitted, with self-contained accommodation able to reopen for use by members of the same household.
  • Children are allowed to attend indoor play activities, with up to 15 parents or guardians allowed to join them.
  • Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place.
  • Care home residents are able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test).

This follows the easing of restrictions in stage one (on 8 and 29 March):

  • People are allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the 'rule of six', including in private gardens.
  • The stay at home rule ended but people should stay local as much as possible.
  • Outdoor sport facilities reopened and formally organised outdoor sports restarted.
  • All schools and colleges reopened, while university students returned for practical courses.
  • Wraparound childcare returned for vulnerable pupils and where needed for parents or carers to go to work, support groups or to seek medical care.

Stage three

No earlier than 17 May:

  • People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
  • Six people or two households can meet indoors.
  • Up to 30 people can meet to celebrate weddings or other life events, like christenings.
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas, can open.
  • Indoor entertainment such as museums, cinemas and children's play areas can open.
  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen to household groups.
  • Performances and large events can resume, with some limits on capacity.
  • International travel will resume no earlier than 17 May.
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can start up again.

Stage four

No earlier than 21 June:

  • All legal limits on social contact removed.
  • No legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events.
  • Nightclubs and theatres allowed to reopen.

Four conditions must be met at each stage before proceeding to the next one:

  • The vaccine programme continues to go to plan.
  • Vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions.
  • New coronavirus variants do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.

You can read the full roadmap at gov.uk/coronavirus, as well as our frequently asked questions.

If you need help during the pandemic, or can volunteer to help, please contact St Helens Together on 01744 676767.

Guidance for the most vulnerable

Shielding advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) came to an end on 1 April. CEV residents are no longer advised to shield but must continue to follow the rules in place for everyone under the current national restrictions. Read the full government guidance.

What do I do if I show symptoms?

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay at home and begin to self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms start. You should arrange a test as soon as possible: ask for a coronavirus test online or call 119.

Symptoms include:

  • A high temperature (37.8 degrees and above)
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

You can opt for a home test kit or to book an appointment at the Haydock Park Racecourse regional testing centre, which is open seven days a week, from 10am to 4pm.

Mobile testing units are used for short periods on varying dates within the borough, which we will publicise in advance.

If your test result is positive, you must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. Your household and your support bubble must self-isolate for 10 days. Anyone who develops symptoms in this time must arrange to take a test.

Following a positive test result, you will be contacted by the NHS test and trace service, who will ask you for information about who you have seen in the past 14 days.

If you do not have symptoms, you can walk in to one of our community testing centres for a free, quick test, with results available in as little as 30 minutes, or collect a test kit to take home – subject to availability. Please read these frequently asked questions about symptom-free testing.

Other updates

The Director of Public Health for St Helens, Sue Forster, writes or records a regular blog featuring coronavirus updates and messages for residents.

Please read our COVID-19 response privacy policy, which explains how we will collect, use and protect personal data specifically with regard to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Face coverings are required by law to be worn in public indoor settings. Here's everything you need to know about face coverings, including how to make your own.

National lockdown

You can download translated versions of the national lockdown guidance on the government website.

St Helens Together poster

Outlining support available for residents identified as clinically extremely vulnerable:

You can also download the government's translations of guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people.

BBC videos in South Asian languages

The BBC has produced the following video content in five South Asian languages – Gujarati, Punjabi, Sylheti, Tamil and Urdu:

Handwashing advice poster

Doctors of the World

Doctors of the World are also providing translated information based on the NHS and the UK government’s advice and health information.