All schools in England are to reopen on March 8 after Boris Johnson laid out his road map to lift the nation out of its third and hopefully final coronavirus lockdown.
"It is so crucial that this roadmap should be cautious but also irreversible" the Prime Minister told the House of Commons.
“We’re setting out what I hope is a one-way road to freedom.”
The easing of restrictions will also allow socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person and allow each care home resident to have one visitor, with whom they can hold hands.
Schools have been closed to all but the most vulnerable students and the children of key workers since January 5. But, a coalition of education unions has warned a full return of pupils at the same time would be a "reckless" course of action.
By the end of March, a further easing of restrictions allow larger groups of people to gather in parks and private gardens. Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis or basketball courts will re-open and outdoor sports will return.
By April, people would see shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality reopening and that’s leaving the hospitality and retail industry again in limbo.
“We need to know not just the dates but also the conditions under which we will reopen,” Kate Nicholls from the UK hospitality said.
Johnson said he was aware many people will be worried that he is being ambitious and arrogant, while others believed he could go faster but reiterated he was following data not dates.
“Today the really is in sight.”
Rules will be lifted in five-week stages providing four steps are met which include the coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan and Covid-19 related deaths, infection rates and hospitalisation numbers significantly reduce.
The announcement comes after a further 178 Covid related deaths since yesterday while a total of 17.7 million people have received their first Covid-19 jab across the UK so far.