U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s hopeful outlook for nightlife last week was somewhat overshadowed by predictions that a reopening before August was unlikely. In a Monday announcement, however, Johnson has outlined a four-step reopening process that could see nightclubs and mass gatherings return as soon as June 21st, 2021.
All of the dates remain fluid and subject to new developments. The timeline is contingent upon the continued decline of case counts and hospitalizations, according to the Prime Minister.
The first step of the plan focuses on schools reopening by March 29th at the earliest, and step two projects that sports facilities, outdoor gatherings of up to six people and international travel could resume by April 12th. In step three, “some large gatherings” will be allowed to take place as soon as May 17th, and step four marks the removal of all “legal limits on human contact” as well as restrictions of establishments on June 12th at the earliest.
The government announcement follows a report published by Labour MP Jeff Smith and Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill containing the findings of an inquiry into COVID-19‘s impact on U.K. nightlife. In addition to forecasting the “extinction” of innumerable institutions belonging to the industry, it argued that a clear reopening timeline was crucial to business owners planning the long-term investments needed to resume operations.
COVID-19 case counts in England have waned considerably since the third lockdown and vaccine distribution push. Whereas 1 in 50 people were diagnosed with the virus between January 3rd and 9th, only 1 in 115 were confirmed between February 6th and 12th.
Image credit: Aleksandar Pasaric