A campaign has today been launched to make June 21 a Bank Holiday so Britons can properly celebrate the end of all coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Boris Johnson yesterday unveiled his ‘cautious’ lockdown exit strategy, which could see life in England return to something close to normal by June at the earliest.
Under the plan, the last remaining legal restrictions will be lifted on June 21, with nightclubs reopening and large events and performances allowed to resume with full crowds for the first time since March.
The loosening will be the last of a four-step process, which will begin on March 8 when all students across the country return to classrooms.
Dozens of Britons – who have spent almost a year living under various forms of lockdown – have now called on the Prime Minister to make June 21 a Bank Holiday so they can celebrate the end of restrictions.
Several petitions have even been launched in a bid to secure the break, with others taking to Twitter to join the campaign.
Boris Johnson yesterday unveiled his ‘cautious’ lockdown exit strategy, which could see life in England return to something close to normal by June at the earliest. Pictured: Revellers in London
Dozens of Britons – who have spent almost a year living under various forms of lockdown – have now called on the Prime Minister to make June 21 a Bank Holiday so they can properly celebrate the end of restrictions
Announcing his petition, Jack Mallett said: ‘We know how the pandemic has affected millions. Loved ones were lost, NHS and key workers did their job.
‘We are now finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the great job done by everyone staying at home and complying with the UK’s restrictions.’
The petition, which has not yet been published, could be debated in Parliament if 100,000 people back the cause online.
Another campaign has called for the same, asking the Government to create a one-off holiday on June 21 called ‘Merriweather Day’ so family and friends are able to spend time together. It has already gained 3,500 signatures.
Others have supported the cause, taking to Twitter to implore Mr Johnson to ‘do the right thing’ and make the date – which also marks the start of summer – a Bank Holiday.
Boris Johnson has unveiled his lockdown exit strategy with rules due to start being lifted from March 8
One man has even launched a petition in a bid to secure the break, with others taking to Twitter to campaign. Pictured: Britons calling for a Bank Holiday
One petition has called for a Bank Holiday called ‘Merriweather Day’ so families can get together
One social media user said: ‘Boris Johnson what do you think about declaring the 21st of June, a NATIONAL Bank Holiday? I think it makes perfect sense.’
Another added: ‘June 21st national Bank Holiday… surely! Make it happen Boris!’
Some Britons even suggested the date should be a permanent break ‘to celebrate the efforts of the NHS and key workers and remember lives lost.’
Another woman wrote: ‘So if the road map goes to plan why don’t we forever more make 21st June a bank holiday – to reflect each year on the dark days we all went through, to remember the ones who died of this horrible virus and to embrace our friends and family again.’
Others were less convinced, with one man writing: ‘Why the f*** would you want to do that? It’ll be messy enough will all the morons that rock up at Spoons at 9am anyway.’
June 21 is the proposed date for the last remaining lockdown rules to be lifted in England under Mr Johnson’s roadmap to the end of restrictions, but this is subject to change.
June 21 is the proposed date for the last remaining lockdown rules to be lifted in England under Mr Johnson’s roadmap to the end of restrictions, but this is subject to change. Pictured: Diners in London last August
Pictured: Britons in Leadenhall Market, London last September ahead of the current lockdown
The date was announced as part of the Prime Minister’s four-phase exit strategy during a No10 briefing on Monday.
Mr Johnson made clear he was prioritising ‘certainty over urgency’, saying he is being as ‘dynamic as possible in the circumstances’ and the ‘crocus of hope’ is starting to appear.
However, Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance said there are still very significant numbers of people infected with Covid and going to fast risked the outbreak spiralling again.
Britons at last saw the light at the end of a year-long tunnel when Mr Johnson confirmed all schools in England will reopen from March 8 as the first step on the ‘one-way road to freedom’.
He said secondary pupils will need to wear masks in class for ‘weeks’ after the move – and there are precious few other easings until Easter, with scientists seemingly having won the battle for a slow approach.
The only other relaxation to come at the same time as schools return is permission to meet socially with one friend or family member in the park for a coffee or a picnic.
The next stage of loosening will not be until March 29, when the formal Stay at Home edict is finally dropped in favour of ‘Stay Local’, and the Rule of Six makes a comeback.
It will be extended to allow two households to gather, enabling relatives to meet properly for the first time in months.
That date will also see the reopening of tennis courts and golf courses and the return of grassroots football.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance
In his statement to the Commons, Mr Johnson explained there are four tests for reopening the country
But shops, hairdressers and pubs must remain closed until April 12 at the earliest – the same time gyms can get back up and running – regardless of mounting fears about the economic meltdown.
Even at that point, pints and meals can only be consumed outdoors.
Campsites and holiday lets can reopen for single households from April 12 – but international travel is completely off the cards until at least May 17.
Social distancing rules will stay in force until June 21 at the minimum, with a Government review to decide their future after that.
The decision means that grandparents face months of waiting before they can hug their grandchildren – even though millions have already been vaccinated.
Another review will be held at that point to decide whether a system of vaccine certificates could be deployed within the UK to help open up the economy, something the Government has previously said it is not considering.
Sports can start to return from May 17, although venues will need to work on reduced capacities.
Up to 30 people can go to weddings from the same date, but are stuck at that number until the next phase of the roadmap.
Only at June 21 will all legal limits on social contact go, and the remaining elements of the hospitality sector be allowed to open. The Prime Minister stressed that he is being driven by ‘data not dates’ and the timeline is not guaranteed.