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COVID-19: As pub gardens, hairdressers and outdoor dining reopen in England, PM urges nation 'behave

12 April

Boris Johnson has urged the nation to "behave responsibly" as pub gardens reopen and restaurants resume outdoor dining in England.

In the next major step in the easing of England's coronavirus lockdown, shops deemed non-essential are also reopening, as are hairdressers, indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos.
However, social mixing indoors remains heavily restricted, with around two in five adults yet to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine - and the vast majority yet to get both.
The prime minister has postponed his long-awaited pub garden pint out of respect for the late Duke of Edinburgh.
But a government source confirmed Mr Johnson would have his hair cut on Monday morning ahead of the prime minister leading tributes to Prince Philip in the House of Commons later.
Mr Johnson urged caution during the "major step forward" in the easing of England's lockdown.
"I'm sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it's a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed," he said.
"I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember 'hands, face, space and fresh air' to suppress COVID as we push on with our vaccination programme."
In England, pubs and restaurants have been making changes during lockdown to maximise their ability to serve customers outside.
But the British Beer and Pub Association estimates that just 40% of licensed premises have the space to reopen for outdoor service.
The previous 10pm curfew rule and the requirement to order a substantial meal with a drink have been scrapped, but social distancing must be observed.
Jake Greaves, landlord of The Shortlands Tavern in Bromley is looking forward to seeing his customers again but says it is the indoors life of the pub that he misses most.
He told Sky News: "For us to feel like things are truly back to normal is for people to be back at the bar again and ordering drinks. We're a pub at the end of the day, and table service - it's nice from a customer point of view, but for operating as a pub - is very difficult. It's not what we're used to at all really."
Domestic holidays can resume to an extent, with overnight stays permitted in self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets and campsites where indoor facilities are not shared.
But these can only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.
International holidays remain banned until an unknown date, amid a row over the cost of testing.
People are not be allowed to visit each other's homes, with socialising indoors still prohibited outside support bubbles.
It is the third in a series of easings since the third national lockdown was legally imposed in England on 6 January.
The next significant date is 17 May, when socialising indoors will be permitted under the "rule of six" - if the prime minister judges that the vaccination programme is safely breaking the link between infections and deaths.
Meanwhile, Wales is also enjoying renewed freedoms from today, with non-essential retail reopening and border restrictions eased to permit travel again with the rest of the UK and Ireland.
Remaining school pupils return to face-to-face teaching in Wales and Northern Ireland, in moves being echoed in Scotland as pupils return from their Easter breaks.
The "stay at home" order in Northern Ireland also ends as the number of people permitted to meet outdoors rises from six to 10.
Professor Peter Horby, chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, told Times Radio: "The watchword has got to be caution, really.
"It's not clear exactly when or how big it will be, but there is, I think, inevitably going to be a bit of a rebound in the number of cases when things are relaxed."
The Oxford University academic said the vaccination programme will minimise hospital admissions and deaths but warned it will not be completely effective.
"I think we can be joyful and enjoy the freedoms but we've still got to realise there's still a large number of people who've not been infected or vaccinated and so they will be at risk."
After three months of full national lockdown, the government said on Sunday that a further seven people had died in the UK within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test.
Around 61% of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to official figures suggesting that more than 32 million people have received a jab. More than 14% have had both doses.


COVID-19: What are the new coronavirus lockdown rules in England from today?

12 April

Each UK nation has set out a roadmap out of lockdown with specific dates.

From today, England's lockdown eases significantly.
Here are the timetables for lifting COVID-19 restrictions in each UK nation:
There are four steps to easing England's lockdown.
The prime minister hopes to be able to lift the majority of rules by 21 June, but this is dependent on cases, deaths and hospital admissions continuing to fall so the dates are the earliest any of the stated rules could be lifted.
There will be no regional tier systems - England will be treated as one in the easing of lockdown.
Step one was completed in two parts on 8 and 29 March.
After Boris Johnson confirmed the roadmap was on track thanks to a successful vaccine programme that is reducing hospital admissions and deaths, England is progressing to the next planned stage of lockdown lifting.
The steps are as follows:

Step Two - 12 April:

  • Non-essential shops, hairdressers, gyms, swimming pools, nail salons, libraries, and outdoor attractions such as theme parks and zoos are allowed to reopen
  • Outdoor hospitality can reopen, including pubs and restaurants - with the rule of six or a larger group from two households
  • Customers do not have to buy a substantial meal to have an alcoholic drink and there is no curfew but people have to be seated when ordering and eating or drinking
  • Two specified people can visit care home residents
  • Children can attend indoor children's activities, including sport
  • Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five) can restart indoors
  • Self-catering holidays in the UK with your own household is allowed
  • Funerals of up to 30 people. Weddings and wakes of up to 15 people
  • Driving lessons are allowed but tests can not take place until 22 April
What is still banned:

  • Indoor socialising continues to be prohibited - people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble
  • Foreign holidays remain illegal until at least 17 May
  • People are still barred from exercise classes
  • Museums, cinemas and children's play areas remain closed
  • Most students can still not return to university
Step three - 17 May:

  • Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted, but gatherings of more than 30 will be illegal
  • Indoors, the rule of six or a larger group of up to two households will be allowed
  • Indoor hospitality - pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, concert halls, children play areas, hotels, B&Bs, indoor exercise classes - will be allowed
  • Advice on social distancing between family and friends, including hugging, will be updated no later than 17 May
  • Large indoor performances and sporting events with a capacity of 1,000 people will be allowed
  • Outdoor large performances and sporting events will have a maximum capacity of 4,000 people or must only be half full, whichever is lower
  • Bigger sports stadiums will be allowed 10,000 people or can only be a quarter full, whichever is lower
  • Testing will be used to support these openings
  • Weddings, wedding receptions, wakes, funerals and christenings will be allowed with 30 people.
Step four - 21 June:

  • All legal limits on social contact removed
  • Government hopes to reopen nightclubs and lift restrictions on large events such as festivals
  • Testing could be used as a condition of entry
  • Ministers hope to remove restrictions on weddings
Yet to be decided
There are a few rules and issues that have not yet been agreed and will be subject to review during the easing of lockdown.
1. The one-metre plus rule, mandatory facemasks and working from home
The government hopes to conclude a review of this before step four.
2. Whether you can use proof of having a COVID-19 vaccine to enter mass events
The government hopes to set out the conclusion of a review prior to step four on whether vaccine or test certificates could be used to reopen the rest of the economy.
3. International travel
The government has said this will not resume before 17 May following a review that will be completed by 12 April.
4. Major events
The government has said testing could be used to ensure people can safely attend large events.
Wales is also enjoying renewed freedoms from today, with non-essential retail reopening and border restrictions eased to permit travel again with the rest of the UK and Ireland.
The next steps are as follows:
12 April

  • All students return to face-to-face learning
  • All "close contact services" reopen
  • All non-essential retail reopens
  • Driving lessons will be allowed but tests can not take place until 22 April
  • Wedding venue "show-arounds" by appointment are allowed
26 April

  • Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people will be able to take place from April 26 instead of May 3.
  • Wedding receptions for up to 30 people will also be permitted outdoors
3 May

  • The reopening of gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities will be allowed. This will include for individual or one-to-one training, but not exercise classes
  • An extended household rule will again allow two households to meet and have contact indoors
Northern Ireland
The Executive laid out a roadmap out of lockdown in nine different pathways, and today sees a further easing of restrictions.
The region's current regulations will be reviewed on 15 April.
Decisions on moving between stages will be based on scientific and medical evidence, ministers have said.
The steps are as follows:
12 April

  • Up to 10 people from no more than two households can meet in a private garden
  • All remaining students return to face-to-face teaching
  • Click and collect services at all non-essential retail resume
  • Outdoor retail, such as car washes; car and caravan retailers; garden centres and plant nurseries are permitted to reopen
  • Up to 15 people (including coaches) can take part in outdoor sports training, through clubs or recognised organisations
  • The number permitted to attend weddings and civil partnerships is to be informed by a risk assessment for the venue
The stay-at-home rule has already been replaced with a "stay local" message and Scots are allowed to meet in bigger groups - up to four people from two households can meet outdoors.
For children aged between 12 and 17, outdoor meetings are now limited to four people, but these can be from up to four households.
On Monday 5 April, a phased reopening of non-essential retail began, barbers and salons reopened, along with click-and-collect retail services, garden centres, car dealerships and homeware shops.
More students returned to face-to-face learning, particularly those in college.
The next steps are as follows:
26 April

  • Scotland will come out of lockdown and into a "modified Level 3"
  • Six people from up to three households can meet outside
  • Travel restrictions across the country will end
  • Non-essential shops, libraries, museums, galleries and gyms can reopen
  • Cafes, restaurants and bars will be able to serve people outdoors, in groups of up to six from three different households, until 10pm
  • Alcohol will be allowed and there will be no requirement for food to be served
  • Hospitality venues can reopen until 8pm, but only for food and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Driving lessons can take place from this date at the earliest but tests will not be allowed until 6 May
17 May

  • Scotland will move from Level 3 to Level 2
  • Indoor socialising set to be allowed, with four people from two households permitted to gather
  • Rules around outdoor mixing also set to be eased further
  • Pubs will be allowed to reopen indoors
  • Cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls will be able to reopen
  • Outdoor contact sport for adults set to return

  • Scotland will move to Level 1 at the start of the month, before dropping to Level 0 before the end of June
  • First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she cannot say when restrictions will be scrapped entirely.


Prince Philip: Harry 'back in the UK' ahead of Duke of Edinburgh's funeral on Saturday

12 April

Prince Harry has reportedly arrived in the UK and is in quarantine ahead of Prince Philip's funeral on Saturday.

He is said to have arrived at Heathrow on a British Airways flight from Los Angeles at 1.15pm on Sunday.
The Sun says Prince Harry was met by police and security on the tarmac and driven away in a Range Rover. He is thought to have been taken to Kensington Palace, the newspaper added.
Buckingham Palace confirmed on Saturday that he would be making the journey, but Meghan has been advised not to travel because she is heavily pregnant.
Watch live coverage of Prince Philip's ceremonial funeral service on Sky News, the website and app from 2pm on Saturday
The Duke of Sussex will not have time to complete 10 days' quarantine but the rules allow people to temporarily leave their place of isolation on "compassionate grounds", which includes a funeral.
Harry will have needed to provide a negative COVID test before travelling and will have to return two more in the UK - as well as stating his quarantine address.
His trip is an "ideal opportunity" to mend family rifts laid bare by the Oprah Winfrey interview, according to former prime minister Sir John Major - who was guardian to Harry and William after their mother's death.
Prince Philip's funeral is also affected by coronavirus rules that limit funerals to 30 people, meaning tough decisions about who can attend.
Around 800 people were set to be invited under planning that took place before the pandemic.
Boris Johnson has said he will not go to free up space for family that includes the Queen's four children and their spouses, as well as eight grandchildren.
A palace spokesman has said the royals would be following social distancing rules throughout, meaning staying two metres from people outside their household or support bubble.
It comes as the Queen described her husband's death as leaving a "huge void in her life", according to Prince Andrew.
Speaking on Sunday, he said the monarch was "feeling it, I think, probably more than everybody else", and called her "incredibly stoic".
"But we - the family, the ones that are closer - are rallying round to make sure that we're there to support her, and I know there is a huge amount of support not just for her but for everybody as we go through this enormous change," the prince added.
The Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward's wife, described the duke's death as "very peaceful".
"It was right for him and, you know, it was so gentle. It was like someone took him by the hand, and then he went," she said.
"Very, very peaceful and that's all you want for somebody, isn't it?"
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Political leaders from across the UK are today returning early from the Easter break to pay respects to the duke.
MPs are back at the Commons a day early, the Welsh and Scottish Parliaments are being recalled, while the Northern Ireland Assembly will also see members pay tribute.


BAFTA Film Awards 2021: Snobs, no-shows and the best Zoom backgrounds - our six key talking points

12 April

It was yet another awards ceremony featuring winners accepting from their sofas - yet despite the lack of a full red carpet of celebs, this year's BAFTA Awards still made for an entertaining evening with moments of humour and emotion.

Everyone is talking about Nomadland, the night's big winner with four awards - best film, director, lead actress and cinematography - but there were plenty of other scene-stealers, too.
And we even got some BAFTA glamour from the Royal Albert Hall, where presenters including Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Hugh Grant attended in person. There was even more from 5,400 miles away in Los Angeles, as stars including Renee Zellweger and Rose Byrne made the effort to get up early and dish out gongs virtually.
Well, we have to stay up all night for the Oscars, it's only fair.
Here are the key talking points from the 2021 BAFTA Awards.
Thanks to the 'snobbish' Brits
There were a few humorous speeches, but perhaps the most memorable quote came from the best supporting actress winner Yuh-Jung Youn, for her role in family drama Minari.
The 73-year-old Korean actress joked that she was honoured to be recognised by the "snobbish" Brits for her performance in the film, winning over homegrown talent Kosar Ali and Ashley Madekwe.
Accepting the award virtually, Youn was serious at first, saying she was "very honoured" to win and sending her "deepest condolences" on the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.
A BAFTA award has extra meaning as it is recognition from British people, she said, quipping that we are "known as very snobbish people - they approve me as a good actor, so I'm very privileged and happy".
It sounds like Youn thinks we Brits have high standards.
Who wasn't camera ready?
With the awards requiring nominees simply to switch their computers on and get dressed only from the waist up, should they choose, viewers were no doubt expecting to see all the winners giving their speeches.
But even virtual ceremonies have their no-shows, with neither the best actor not the best actress, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Frances McDormand, available to accept their prizes.
Sir Anthony did, however, attend the winners' media room afterwards, confirming that he is celebrating his win in his native Wales. The 83-year-old, who is from Port Talbot, won his award for The Father, directed by Florian Zeller, about a man slipping into dementia.
The star won his first BAFTA in 1969 for The Lion In Winter and he said he never expected to be recognised again - perhaps why he wasn't there for the acceptance speech.
"This is wonderful," he said after the awards. "I'm at this time in my life where I never expected to get this, you know."
Sir Anthony now has three best actor BAFTAs under his belt, so he's not done too badly.
Red carpet fashion in a COVID world
While lockdown restrictions meant the nominees had to stay at home, awards presenters were able to glam up and attend the ceremony at the almost empty Royal Albert Hall.
It wasn't quite the same in terms of the red carpet fashion parade, but the celebs who were there made sure to look their best.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas revealed her first outfit on Instagram - a sleek black gown with '80s power shoulders and colourful butterfly features, before walking the carpet with husband Nick Jonas in a pink embroidered top and white harem trousers. And of course, they had matching masks.
Cynthia Erivo wore a gold and silver Louis Vuitton minidress with intricate, armour-like detailing, while Gugu Mbatha-Raw chose a silver mid-length dress to bring some Hollywood-style glamour to proceedings.
Plus, we saw some very dapper suits from the two Grants - Hugh and Richard E (who told Sky News he was just happy to leave the house) - as well as Tom Hiddleston and Asim Chaudhry.
Not all Zoom backgrounds are made equal
Either British writer and director Emerald Fennell has an extremely swish pad, or she wasn't collecting her prize from home. Is that a grand piano we spy behind you?
So as well as her awards for best original screenplay and outstanding British film for her darkly comic revenge story Promising Young Woman, Fennell (who you might recognise as the actress who plays Camilla in The Crown) also wins fanciest background. Congratulations!
She also accepted one award holding a chocolate BAFTA aloft, so even her snacks were appropriate.
Other backgrounds of note: Daniel Kaluuya's bookshelf; Remi Weekes' bunting, and Sound Of Metal editor Mikkel EG Nielsen for his lovely plant arrangements.
Zhao: you might have won all the awards, but this is one category you need to up your game in.
One to watch
East Londoner Bukky Bakray had never acted before she was picked to star in Sarah Gavron's coming-of-age drama Rocks. This year, she was nominated for best leading actress at the BAFTAs.
While she lost out in that category (to two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand, so tough competition), she was named this year's BAFTA rising star - the only award to be voted for by the public, with previous winners including James McAvoy, Noel Clarke, Kristen Stewart and Tom Hardy.
Speaking in the virtual winners room afterwards, Bakray said: "I think when you look at Rocks' narrative, it's not flashy, it's not crazy, there's no guns, there are no stunts, there is no this and that.
"Even though I love films that have that, this film is really minimalistic. It really focuses on life and human nature and humanity."
In Rocks, Bakray plays a teenage girl struggling to take care of herself and her younger brother after they are abandoned by their mother. "When we filmed Rocks I thought 100 people would watch the film, maximum," she said. "I didn't think it would have this reach."
Plenty more than that will have seen it now.
A poignant tribute
Director Thomas Vinterberg commemorated his late daughter as Danish tragicomedy Another Round was named the winner of the best foreign language film award.
Starring Casino Royale actor Mads Mikkelsen as a teacher who tests a theory that he will improve his life by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in his blood, the film has received critical acclaim and is set to reach cinemas here (fingers crossed) in June.
Vinterberg, who was also nominated for best director, lost his teenage daughter Ida in a car accident at the start of the shoot, and much of the movie was made at her school.
He joked as he first accepted the award, saying: "I did have a small suspicion you Brits might like a movie about drinking."
Finishing his thank yous, he said: "Most importantly, I want to thank my daughter Ida, who is no longer here. She was more enthusiastic about this project than anyone else and it made her miss her hometown Copenhagen, and now we miss her.
"We made this movie for her, so the honour granted by you BAFTA voters means more to us than you could ever imagine."


COVID-19: Snow, sleet and freezing temperatures to hit UK as pub beer gardens reopen in England

12 April

It's set to be a chilly return to pubs in England today, with snow, sleet and low, single digit temperatures forecast for large parts of the UK.

And while the northern parts of England will stay bright this morning, the southern half of the nation faces rain, sleet and snow showers during the day, with flurries seen in west London, as well as Reading, Berkshire, Sevenoaks, Kent and parts of Oxfordshire already.
The easing of coronavirus restrictions today will see - as well as pubs - outdoor dining areas, non-essential shops, hairdressers, indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos welcoming customers for the first time in 2021.
Boris Johnson has urged the UK to "behave responsibly" as pubs start serving again.
While people can enjoy meeting outside, the rules around indoor gatherings in England are still strict.
Around 40% of adults are yet to receive a first dose of a COVID vaccine, and only 7.5 million have had both jabs.
While people in England are heading back to the pub today, other parts of the UK have to wait a bit longer.
Wales is aiming to reopen outdoor hospitality on 26 April, the same day as Scotland.
Outdoor dining remains restricted in Northern Ireland.
The gloomy return to pubs in England comes following a chilly weekend with patches of snow seen in various regions of the UK.
Heavy rain and areas of hill snow are expected in Northern Ireland, Wales and western parts of England on Monday morning.
Throughout the day these showers will move south-eastwards, pushing into southern parts and the Midlands by the middle of the morning and hitting the south coast during the afternoon and into the evening.
Temperatures are forecast to be from around 6C (43F) in the Scottish isles to 12C (53.6F) in Cornwall.
London is expected to see temperatures around 10C (50F) and Manchester 7C (44.6F).
Scotland and northern England will have a sunny start to the week.
Overnight into Tuesday will see temperatures around freezing for much of the country, with the rest of the week cold but dry.