The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed the Government’s roadmap out of the current coronavirus lockdown in England.
This document provides the guidelines for a return to some form of normality by the 21 June 2021.
The softly, softly programme was to be expected, following two coronavirus spikes that have resulted in over 4 million cases and 121,000 coronavirus deaths to date in the UK.
The plan is divided into four, five-week (or more) steps, each step opening up more areas of the coronavirus lockdown, as the effects of the present restrictions and the continuing vaccination programme reduce the numbers contracting COVID-19 and requiring hospitalisation.
The first step of the plan commences on the 8 March with the opening of schools and colleges.
The Stay-at-Home restriction will continue, but recreation or exercise outdoors with household or one other person will be allowed.
Outdoor gatherings of six or fewer people will not be allowed until after 29 March. From that date people will no longer be legally required to Stay at Home, but it will not be possible to meet people from other households indoors.
Of interest to Sailing Clubs will the allowing of organised outdoor sport from 29 March.
Formally organised outdoor sports – for adults and under 18s – can restart and will not be subject to the gatherings limits, but should be compliant with guidance issued by national governing bodies.
Note the reference to ‘guidance issued by national governing bodies’ which in the case of recreational sailing in England will be the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).
It is important to note that the roadmap steps are flexible in application date . . . .
Step 2 will therefore take place no earlier than 12 April, subject to an assessment of the data against the four tests.
If Step 2 is delayed, subsequent steps will need to be pushed back in order to maintain the necessary five-week period to assess the impact of each step and provide notice.
For those thinking of sailing or competing abroad note that International travel will remain banned in principle until the second step is over. That is no earlier than 17 May 2021.
In its immediate response, the RYA stated . . .
We’ve welcomed the confirmation that outdoor sport and recreation will be the first activity after education to be released from lockdown in England. This prioritisation by the Government clearly acknowledges the many positive mental and physical benefits of outdoor sport, as well as its safety and low rates of transmission.
Whilst we are all disappointed not to be able to make a full return to our normal boating activity sooner, we will work with our members and stakeholders to support a safe restart to boating activity as soon as the roadmap allows.
In the coming days we will be reviewing the detailed regulations as they are published, in order to update our advice to clubs and centres.
The Devolved Administrations are setting out how lockdown will be eased in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.