THE Prime Minister will today unveil the Government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, amid calls from some York leaders for caution and clarity.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce that all schools will return on March 8, people will be able to sit down outdoors with a friend or relative, and one designated relative will be able to visit a loved one in a care home.

From March 29, it is understood people will be able to see family and friends in groups of six outdoors.Non-essential shops may be allowed to open in April, along with pubs and restaurants serving outdoors.

York Central Labour MP Rachael Maskell has warned it is ‘far too soon to let our guards down, with Covid19 infection rates still higher than at the end of the last lockdown in December.’

She said that starting with cautious measures in care homes, she welcomed ‘the most fragile being able to see their family and for all of us to cautiously start seeing family and friends outside again.’

But she said she was concerned that schools were opening too fast, and supported teachers’ calls in York for pupils to start with a rota system, enabling children to return but with sufficient space and reduced numbers to stop community transmission.

However, York Outer Tory MP Julian Sturdy said he remained committed to the belief that schools must return by March 8 for all students, ‘to mitigate the long-term effects of lockdown on our children’s education and development.’

He said:”While teachers have made tremendous efforts to support families with home schooling, nothing can replace classroom learning and daily in-person interaction with your peers.”

He also said that once the top nine priority groups had been vaccinated, he wanted to see hospitality venues opened ‘safely but with a real chance for financial viability.’

Kevin Hollinrake, Conservative MP for Thirsk & Malton, welcomed the likelihood of easing restrictions, ‘starting with schools but also gradually opening the opportunities for social contact, even if only in our gardens at first.’

He said: “I know that this current lockdown has been the hardest for many, but there is now much to be optimistic about. The vaccine rollout was always the real gamechanger and has been a huge national success.”

York council leader Keith Aspden said:“We need a clear roadmap of how we’re going to reopen safely, with detailed evidence of the science behind the policies being enacted to make sure we’re not faced with another national lockdown later in the year.

“The Prime Minister is right to say that we must be guided by data not dates.

“Businesses, teachers and residents need clarity, with proactive and open communication from the Government. Ministers must act decisively and set out a plan for the coming months that will protect people’s lives and livelihoods.”

The Lib Dem councillor said that to ensure the city’s long-term safe reopening, Government must take additional steps to provide clear and concise guidance and work with local authorities, public health teams and police to understand the challenge.