Boris Johnson thanked the public for their sacrifices amid the coronavirus pandemic ashe confirmed stage three of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown will go ahead as planned on May 17.

Addressing the public, he told the Downing Street press conference: “I want to thank you particularly because your efforts have so visibly paid off, giving us the time to vaccinate more than two thirds of all adults across the UK, with more than one third – nearly 18 million people – also receiving their second dose and thereby unquestionably saving many lives.

“And so, it’s precisely because of your efforts that I can confirm today that we’ve met our four tests for further easing the lockdown in England.”

The Prime Minister added: “With deaths and hospitalisations at their lowest level since last July and the UK’s four chief medical officers today agreeing a reduction in the alert level, the data now support moving to step three in England from next Monday, May 17.”

Mr Johnson also confirmed that England remains “on track” to see an end to lockdown restrictions by June 21.

He said: He told the Downing Street press conference: “This unlocking amounts to a very considerable step on the road map back to normality and I am confident we will be able to go further.

“Subject to the impact of step three on the data, we remain on track to move to step four on June 21.

“And to give business more time to prepare we will be saying more later this month about exactly what the world will look like and what role there could be – if any – for certification and social distancing.”

People in England will be able to hug friends and family once more but insisted that this does not mean people can “throw caution to the wind”.

“This doesn’t mean that we can suddenly throw caution to the winds. We all know that close contacts such as hugging is a direct way of transmitting this disease,” he said.

“So I urge you to think about the vulnerability of your loved ones.”

He said people should consider whether people had had the vaccine – and if so if they had had the second dose – and whether there has been time for it to take effect.

As restrictions ease next Monday the following establishments will be allowed to reopen:

  • Pubs (indoor serving)
  • Restaurants (indoor serving)
  • Steam rooms
  • Saunas
  • Cinemas
  • Bingo halls
  • Bowling alleys
  • Big events (with capacity)
  • Sports stadiums (with capacity)

Indoor events will have a capacity limit of 1,000 or 50% whichever is the smallest number, while outdoor events will be allowed up to 4,000 or 50% of capacity.

The final step of the roadmap out of lockdown is schedule for June where all measures are expected to be lifted.

In response to the Prime Minister’s confirmation that indoor hospitality will reopen on May 17, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry body UKHospitality, said: “This is a much welcome and vitally important next step, as we continue along the road map to remove restrictions.

“There is a huge sense of relief within the sector, in particular for the six in 10 venues that were not able to reopen over recent weeks due to a lack of outdoor space.

“However, with significant restrictions still in place, this is a psychological opening rather than an economic one, with the profitability of the sector still a huge issue.

“This is why sticking to the road map and the removal of all restrictions by June 21 is absolutely crucial, enabling venues to finally operate in viable conditions, after 14 months of severely disrupted trading.”