BORIS Johnson WILL give pub gardens, shops and hairdressers the green light to reopen on April 12 when he addresses the nation on Monday.
Though warning families not to bend the rules by meeting indoors or groups bigger than six this Easter, the Prime Minister will announce cases and deaths have dropped enough to give next phase of unlocking the go.
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Multiple sources told The Sun the PM "is confident" the good news Covid data allows more easing of restrictions and will give retailers and landlords their promised 7 days notice in an address on Bank Holiday Monday.
Shops, beer gardens, gyms and outdoor restaurants will be allowed to reopen after 99 days of shutdown.
April 12 marks five weeks since the first easing of lockdown on March 8 when schools reopened.
The next tranche of restrictions are due to be lifted five weeks later on May 17 when its hoped hospitality can serve indoors and families can meet inside.
The Good Friday good news comes as vaccine data soared and bug cases and deaths plummeted.
JAB IN THE ARM
The latest data showed 36,249,902 jabs have given in the UK so far, 31,301,267 were first doses – a rise of 153,823 on Thursday.
Some 4,948,635 were second doses, an increase of 435,177, with half of over 80s having now been jabbed twice.
And cases of the bug dropped by a quarter last week – yesterday there were just 3402 confirmed cases – down 26.6 per cent in seven days.
But in a video message, the PM insisted the country is "not yet" at the stage where families and friends can meet inside, even if they have been vaccinated.
Mr Johnson added: "We're very much in a world where you can meet friends and family outdoors under the rule of six or two households.
"And even though friends and family members may be vaccinated, the vaccines are not giving 100 per cent protection and that's why we just need to be cautious.
"We don't think they entirely reduce or remove the risk of transmission."
Downing Street sources defended the strict rules for the jabs, saying the roadmap was carefully designed to avoid cases flaring up and data was still unclear about how effective the jabs are at cutting transmission.
Mr Johnson is also expected to unveil plans for vaccine passports to allow businesses to drop social distancing measures this summer if they check punters have been jabbed or tested.
But he is facing a growing backlash from the hospitality industry for the plan.
UK Hospitality said it would be a massive unfair burden on the already hammered sector and urged a rethink.
But Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden hit back: "This is not about a vaccine passport, this is about looking at ways of proving that you are Covid secure, whether you have had a test or had the vaccine.
"Clearly, no decisions have been made on that, because we have to weigh up different factors, the ethical considerations and so on, but it may be a way of ensuring we can get more people back doing the things they love."
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