Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed his belief lockdown easing would be able to take place on April 12.
The PM said: “The net result of your efforts and the vaccine roll-out is that I can today confirm that from Monday, April 12, we will move to Step Two of our roadmap – reopening shops, gyms, zoos, holiday campsites, personal care services like hairdressers and, of course, beer gardens and outdoor hospitality of all kinds.
“And on Monday, April 12, I will be going to the pub myself – and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips.
“We’re also increasing the number of visitors to care homes from one to two – to allow residents to see more of their loved ones.
“We think that these changes are fully justified by the data, which show we are meeting our four tests for easing the lockdown.”