We want to celebrate your 'Happy Returns' as Luton and Dunstable emerge from coronavirus restrictions
Send us good news from your businesses, clubs, groups, sports teams and family celebrations
The success of the UK’s vaccination programme and the resolve of the British public in following the lockdown restrictions has helped to cut infection rates and reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
The government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England is now in place as we all look forward to getting slowly and carefully back to normal life.
As society tentatively opens up the Luton News & Dunstable Gazette wants to be with our readers every step of the way.
We want to hear your positive stories about how you/your family, your business, your club/society or maybe your sports team is re-emerging from the restrictions which have made the past year so challenging.
It might be news of a business relaunching, your youth football team resuming its matches, how your school is coping with the ongoing challenges, how your club or society is ditching Zoom and is looking to meet face-to-face again, a family reunion or celebration which can finally go ahead, or the many other examples of events and activities we all took for granted slowly returning.
This is a great chance to tell your story over the coming weeks and months ahead. Submit 100-300 words to this newspaper on how the pandemic has had an impact, how you've kept going and most importantly news of your 'Happy Return' when it's deemed safe. We'd also love to receive photos of those joyful reunions/reopenings. Please send all details to [email protected]Here's a reminder of the four stages of the roadmap to a brighter future, which are dependant on: The coronavirus vaccine programme staying on track; Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment; Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions; and New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.
> On March 8, all schools opened with outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed. Recreation in a public space such as a park is also allowed between two people.
> From March 29, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed, including in private gardens. Also outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children’s sport, such as grassroots football, will also return.
> From April 12, non-essential retail, hairdressers and public buildings like libraries and museums can open. Also outdoor settings like alcohol takeaways, beer gardens, zoos and theme parks can welcome visitors. Indoor leisure like swimming pools and gyms can open. Self-contained holiday accommodation, such as self-catering lets and camp sites can take bookings.
Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and weddings with up to 15 guests.
> From May 17, the ‘rule of six’ will be abolished for outdoor gatherings and replaced with a limit of 30 people. Two households can mix indoors - with the rule of six applied in hospitality settings like pubs. Cinemas, hotels, performances and sporting events can reopen - though social distancing remain. Up to 10,000 spectators can attend the very largest outdoor seated venues like football stadiums. And up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, funerals and wakes.
> From June 21, all legal limits on social contact is intended to be removed, with the final closed sectors of the economy reopened - such as nightclubs. Restrictions on weddings and funerals will also be abolished.