Runners rejoice as Lockdown 3.0 is to be eased at last
Prime Minister sets out the Government's roadmap to normality
Yesterday afternoon (22 February) in Parliament, and later in an evening broadcast to the nation, PM Boris Johnson announced details of the Government's plan to ease us safely out of Lockdown 3.0.
The tone was cautious but positive, with the hope this will be the final lockdown necessary to curb COVID-19, due to the phenomenal success of the vaccination programme and the results of the restrictive measures that have been endured by so many for so long.
The changes that will affect runners and athletes the most could start as early as 29 March when there will be a return to the previous 'Rule of Six' and organised outdoor sports can resume. This means that running groups and athletics clubs can start training in small groups and many outdoor facilities, such as running tracks, can reopen. At this point, the Stay at Home order will end, which means travel to venues for training will once again be permitted.
The next marker arrives on 12 April when gyms and swimming pools are among the tranche of venues that will reopen, while 17 May has been earmarked as the date for lifting most remaining social contact rules with indoor exercise classes and indoor adult group sports commencing and limited crowds allowed to attend sporting events, both indoors and outdoors.
Monday 21 June 2021 is the date when it is hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed and something resembling normal life can resume. It should be noted that all of these staging posts are described as 'no earlier than' dates and are subject to the continuing success of the vaccination programme in suppressing coronavirus infection rates.
It is too early to tell exactly when it will be possible to resume meaningful competition and England Athletics are reviewing the position with Government ministers before making an announcement. There is a brief reaction from England Athletics on their website here
A summary of the main points from the Prime Minister's announcements are available here
runABC will keep you informed of further developments but with Spring approaching there are reasons to be optimistic that the race between science and the virus is finally being won.