Swanage’s tourism sector won’t be back in action until well after Easter under the four step plan out of lockdown, as outlined by the Prime Minister.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday 22nd February 2021, Boris Johnson announced that the third national lockdown will be lifted in four steps, placed five weeks apart, in what has been described as a “cautious” lifting of Covid restrictions.
The first step is expected to come into force on Monday 8th March 2021, in which schools will reopen and people will be allowed to meet one other person outside.
However, holidaymakers will be limited in their options until further restrictions are lifted later in the year.
While the stay at home order is expected to be lifted on Monday 29th March 2021 in the second part of step one, the guidance says that many of the lockdown restrictions, will remain in place. Unless an exemption already applies, it will not be possible to meet people from other households indoors and many business premises will remain shut.
People should continue to work from home where they can and to minimise travel wherever possible, and should not be staying away from home overnight at this stage.
For tourism in Swanage this means that anyone from further afield wishing to visit Swanage’s coast or the Purbeck countryside will have to wait until after Easter – which falls on Sunday 4th April 2021.
Under step two – which will come in no sooner than Monday 12th April 2021 – it is expected that holiday lets, including cottages with no shared facilities will be able to resume service, albeit only for one household.
This is only for domestic travel as international holidays are expected to remain banned at this stage.
Non essential shops, as well as hairdressers, are also set to open.
While the inside of pubs and restaurants will stay closed, fans of beer gardens will rejoice as these venues will be permitted to serve outdoors only.
Outdoor attractions will also be able to reopen with social contact rules in place, so Swanage Pier will be allowed to open to strollers, although the indoor museum will have to remain closed.
In this step, funerals will continue with a maximum of 30 guests, while wakes, weddings and receptions can go ahead with 15.
Following this, indoor hospitality venues including hotels and B and Bs are scheduled to be allowed to reopen their doors under step three of the plan, which takes effect no sooner than Monday 17th May 2021.
International travel may be allowed to resume, subject to a government review.
It’s likely that this is when Swanage’s iconic Mowlem theatre will reopen – as this is the stage where indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas will be allowed to open its doors to the public.
The number of maximum attendees at wakes, weddings and funerals would rise to 30.
The final step four is planned to come into effect no earlier than Monday 21st June 2021. This would see almost all remaining measures lifted, including restrictions on large events and performances. Nightclubs would also be reopened.
All relaxations of Covid restrictions are conditional to infection rates staying low, the rollout and effectiveness of the vaccine programme continuing successfully and no emergence of any new Covid variants.
To find the full details of the roadmap out of lockdown, visit the government’s website.