At a press conference tonight, Johnson described the plan as a “one-way road to freedom.” The British Prime Minister called the coming spring and summer ‘the seasons of hope’.
He said he understood people who were pushing for more speed in the easing, but urged caution.
The step-by-step plan therefore mentions concrete data, but the question is how certain it will turn out to be. In the first four weeks after each step, there is room for research into the consequences of the measures. Only if these are kept within limits will companies and organizations have the opportunity to prepare for the next step during the fifth week.
Johnson’s plan roughly looks like this:
Step 1: March 8
Schools and higher education should be allowed to reopen, as would out-of-school care. Face masks are mandatory from secondary school. On March 29 there will be a further relaxation: six people are allowed to meet outside. Britons get a little more freedom of movement.
Step 2: April 12
Non-essential stores and hairdressers can reopen, as can gyms and swimming pools. In the catering industry, terraces are again accessible. Visits to theme parks and zoos are allowed again, but under strict conditions.
Step 3: 17 May
A maximum of six people (or two households) are allowed to meet again inside. Cinemas, restaurants and pubs can open again, but with strict requirements for the maximum number of visitors. At sporting events, the public is rarely allowed. International travel is possible again. Weddings and baptisms are allowed again, with a maximum of 30 attendees.
Step 4: June 21
End of social restrictions. The latter sectors may also reopen, such as nightclubs and discotheques.
It is mainly the vaccinations that have to do their job, says Prime Minister Johnson. The United Kingdom is ahead of the countries of the European Union in this respect because it started earlier and gained momentum right away. More than 17.7 million Britons have been vaccinated in two months. Everyone over 50 should have been vaccinated in mid-April, and all adults should have had an injection by the end of July.
“That the vaccination program runs smoothly,” says correspondent Anne Saenen, “makes such a step-by-step plan possible. There is quite a lot of support for the measures in the United Kingdom, and this is one way to keep it that way.”
Even companies that complain because they are not allowed to open all the time find a little something to hold on to in Johnson’s plan. Saenen: “If there is no clarity, everyone starts to grumble anyway.” She calls Johnson’s announcement “an effective way to promise people a happy summer.”
Netherlands: road map without data
However uncertain the data he noted in his roadmap may be, as one of the first Western leaders, British Prime Minister Johnson has put on paper a ‘hard’ way out of the corona crisis for his country. Can we expect something like this in the Netherlands from outgoing Prime Minister Rutte?
“The Dutch cabinet has presented a roadmap,” says parliamentary reporter Fons Lambie, “but without concrete data. At the previous press conference, at the beginning of this month, there was a whole new update to that map. But you can see that it is being deviated from all the time. . “
Again, there is talk of a few more relaxation, says Lambie. “For example, it is being considered to scrap the heavier contact professions again.” It seems that the road map in the Netherlands is mainly used as a ‘choice menu’, says Lambie. “But then without data. In a roadmap with data, the approach to the corona crisis would be difficult to predict, can be heard in The Hague.”
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