By Jonny Long
While many will be looking forward to seeing their families at outdoor gatherings and their children heading back to school, cyclists in England could soon be allowed to stop for an outdoor coffee, sipping in anticipation at the prospect of group rides returning, as the UK government announced the England's roadmap out of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The easing of restrictions will begin in early March and could end on June 21 if the government's four-step strategy goes as planned. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there would be a minimum of five weeks between each of the four steps when announcing the plan in parliament on Monday.
The devolved governments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will set out their own plans for leaving the coronavirus lockdown.
From March 8, people in England will be allowed to socialise with another individual outside of their household or support bubble in a public space for a coffee, drink, or picnic. While cyclists are already permitted to ride with one other person outside their household, this rule means two people will be able to stop for a coffee outdoors during their ride. The stay at home message will still apply, meaning cyclists will continue to be advised to 'stay local'.
March 29 will then see a second part of the first phase of restrictions being eased, with outdoor sports facilities such as tennis courts and golf courses reopening, as grassroots football also returns. While nothing has been confirmed yet by either the government or British Cycling, logic would dictate this would mean a return of group rides and club rides. Outdoor venues like cycle tracks should also be able to reopen.
A second phase of the roadmap is then slated for late April, which along with non-essential retail expected to return, could also see some hospitality return, including establishments being allowed to serve customers outdoors only - the return of the café stop. However only two households will be able to use outdoor hospitality and the rule of six will apply. Gyms will also reopen for individual or household use.
Then, the third phase should see pubs and restaurants be allowed to open indoors, albeit with the two household and rule of six limit applying. Step three does allow groups of 30 to meet outside however, meaning a group ride could theoretically stop at an outdoor café or pub. Indoor sports will also be permitted to take place, so group spin classes will be able to resume. These easing of restrictions will come in no earlier than May 17.
Finally, the total lifting of restrictions could take place as early as June 21, meaning social events can freely take place and spectators will be able to return to cycling events.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has said he is optimistic about domestic summer holidays being permitted, meaning a bikepacking adventure could be on the cards if you are so inclined, while foreign holidays will of course be dependent on other countries' governments.
Covid-19 lockdown roadmap - key points for cyclists
Step one (March 8)
- Recreation or exercise with household or one other person
- Stay at home and stay local advice still applies
Step one (March 29 earliest)
- Rule of six or two households can meet outdoors
- Outdoor sport and leisure facilities can reopen
- Organised outdoor sport (eg. club rides) allowed for children and adults
Step two (April 8 earliest)
- Indoor leisure facilities can reopen for individuals and households
- Rule of six or two households can meet outdoors
- Outdoor hospitality can reopen for rule of six or two households
- Minimise travel - no international travel
Step three (May 17 earliest)
- 30 person limit on outdoor meeting
- Rule of six of two households can meet indoors
- Organised indoor adult sport can resume
- International travel, subject to restrictions
- Large events with spectator capacity restrictions
Step four (June 21 earliest)
- No restrictions on social contact
- Larger events with no restrictions
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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