‘Happy Monday’ to usher in Spring heatwave as lockdown restrictions relax

Boris Johnson announces plans for re-opening of pubs outdoors

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Outdoor sports facilities can also reopen in what has been dubbed “Happy Monday” as temperatures are set to soar as high as 76F (24C) over the coming days. Forecasters are predicting it will be the warmest end to March in more than 50 years. The new freedoms and sunny weather are likely to trigger a barbecue and picnic frenzy.

Boris Johnson lauded the first significant return of personal freedoms in months for millions of Britons.The Prime Minister hopes the easing will “kick-start a great British summer of sport”.

Football and cricket pitches, tennis and basketball courts, outdoor swimming pools, golf courses and sailing clubs are now free to reopen after months of being shuttered.

Organised team sports can also resume outdoors without the need for social distancing.

New figures have shown Britain is already geared up for an alfresco summer with more than 41,000 pubs, bars and restaurants having some kind of outdoor space that could allow them to reopen on April 12.

Non-essential shops will also reopen from that date. But despite the easing of curbs, Mr Johnson had words of caution. He said: “I know how much people have missed the camaraderie and competition of organised sport, and how difficult it has been to restrict physical activities – especially for children.

“But we must remain cautious, with cases rising across Europe and new variants threatening our vaccine rollout. Despite today’s easements, everyone must stick to the rules, remember hands, face, space, and come for a vaccine when called.”

A new slogan has been unveiled to stress the importance of oventilation in reducing the spread of the virus: “Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air.”

Mr Johnson warned a spike in cases could be seen as parts of Europe are struck by a third wave of infections. But he hopes the vaccine rollout will suppress hospitalisations and deaths.

While greater outdoor freedoms are now permitted, the Government is still advising people to work from home where possible and minimise the number of journeys they take.

InWales, the stay local order ended on Saturday and people were allowed to enjoy self-contained holiday accommodation.

The stay home order in Scotland is to end on Friday, while in Northern Ireland up to six people can meet outdoors from Thursday.

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