COVID-19 roadmap: key dates for charities

Charity facilities managers will need to note key dates in the government roadmap and start planning for how their organisations will reopen.

A calendar showing June 2021.

All legal social contact restrictions are due to be removed on 21 June 2021. (Image: Annette McGill)

By Annette McGill

The government’s roadmap for lifting COVID-19 restrictions includes several key dates for charities. 

The exit from lockdown in England will take place in four steps between March and June 2021. The outcomes of each step will be assessed against scientific data before the next step can take place. For that reason, all the dates in the roadmap are indicative and subject to change.

The guidance says that office staff should continue to work from home if they can, at least until the final step in June -  unless home working is not appropriate because of mental or physical health difficulties, or a particularly challenging home working environment.

Employers should continue to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable equipment to enable remote working. Where people cannot work from home, employers should take steps to make their workplaces COVID-19 secure and help employees avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

A week before June 21st the government will publish a review that will inform that latest advice on working from home.

Key dates:

Step 1: 

8 March

  • Schools and colleges are open for all students.
  • Childcare and children’s supervised activities can also resume.

29 March

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

Step 2: not before 12 April

Non-essential retail and  community centres can reopen. 

All settings must abide by the social contact rules. The Government will continue to enforce restrictions and require businesses to demonstrate robust strategies for managing the risk of transmission and to ensure social distancing rules are followed.

The Charity Retail Association has published a summary of the latest regulations relating to charity shops

Other facilities which can reopen include leisure facilities, outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, and theme parks. 

People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise domestic travel.

Step 3: not before 17 May

All but the most high-risk sectors will be able to reopen. This includes most facilities in the arts and entertainment sectors.

Village halls will be able to reopen for general community activities. Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) has published updated guidance to help volunteer management committees negotiate this process.

COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and premises must not cater for groups larger than the legal limits. 

Sectors which will reopen include:

  • Indoor hospitality with table service;
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas;
  • Indoor entertainment, such as museums, cinemas and children’s play areas;
  • Remaining accommodation, such hostels;
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes; and
  • Some large events, including conferences, theatre and concerts and sports events. Controlled indoor events for up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted.

Step 4: not before 21 June

 The government hopes to remove all legal limits on social contact and to reopen all remaining premises.