On The Way Out Of Lockdown

Sunday 28th February 2021 - Belle Gait


On The Way Out Of Lockdown

What does the most recent easing of Coronavirus restrictions mean for the antiques and auction industry?

The long-anticipated announcement from number 10 finally came on Monday 22nd March in the form of a 'roadmap.' Prime Minister Boris Johnson listed major dates and a detailed plan that the government hoped to follow to regain a sense of normality across the country. So, what are these key dates and steps to be aware of?


Step 1

8th March 

    • Schools in England can (finally!)

    This means that students in both schools and further education can return to face-to-face tutelage, and parents can finally step away from their most recent career as home-school teachers!

    • Wraparound childcare can restart.

    This includes other activities for all children that enable parents to work.

    • Outdoor meetings with your own household, one other person, or your support bubble are permitted.

    These no longer have to be a brisk socially-distanced walk. You can now sit down for a drink or a picnic together as well. This is in addition to the permitted daily outdoor exercise.

    • Care home residents may receive one regular named visitor for an indoor visit.


29th March 

    • Outdoor meetings are now extended to Rule of 6; or two households.
    • Outdoor sports and leisure facilities can reopen.

    This includes outdoor organized sport, golf courses (even mini putt), tennis and basketball, riding arenas, and even shooting ranges.

    • Domestic travel can happen but should be minimal.


Step 2

No earlier than 12th April (if this step is delayed, then all subsequent steps will also be pushed back)


In addition to Step 1:

    • Indoor leisure facilities (including gyms) can reopen.

    This will be for individual use or within household circles but not groups and can include swimming pools, dance studios, and climbing wall centres.

    • Personal care can reinitiate.

    Finally! We can run down the barber or the nail salon and groom the lockdown dishevelment, although the steam room and sauna will have to wait!

    • Non-essential retail will be able to reopen.

    This includes auction houses! In all the venues, indoor events that bring people together - even if they do not mix with other households - must not run until Step 3.

    • Outdoor areas at restaurants, cafes, social clubs, and other hospitality venues can reopen.

    These premises can serve alcohol, and you no longer have to have a "substantial meal" alongside that pint or G&T.

    • Some outdoor gatherings can take place but must comply with strict COVID-Secure guidance.

    This could include outdoor antiques or art fairs.


Step 3


No earlier than 17th May


In addition to Steps 1 & 2 and while continuing to follow Rule of 6 or two households while indoors and a maximum of 30 people outdoors:

  • Indoor areas of hospitality may now open.
  • Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions will reopen.

This will include, but is not limited to, bingo halls, casinos, concert halls, water and aqua parks, and indoor attractions at landmarks, including observation wheels, etc.

  • The remaining holiday accommodation can reopen.
  • Indoor team sport and group exercise classes can restart. Saunas and steam rooms can finally reopen.
  • Indoor and outdoor gatherings, whether run by a charity, public body, or business, can now be organised.

These must comply with COVID-Secure guidance, taking reasonable steps to reduce the risk of transmission. A risk assessment must be completed, and social contact limits must be adhered to.


Step 4


No earlier than 21st June 

In addition to all business already outlines, the hope is to reopen nightclubs, adult entertainment, and similar venues. This would also mean lifting the remaining Step 3 restrictions on social contact and large events. 

The government will also consider relaxing the COVID-Secure requirements on businesses; however, this would be subject to review.


This means that the most important dates for auctioneers and antique enthusiasts alike to be aware of are 12th April and 17th May; or Steps 2 and 3. Of course, whilst we’re sure you cannot wait for the world to reopen, these dates are subject to review and can be delayed. Until then, our live online bidding platform has got you covered! The platform is completely COVID-secure, and our auctioneers offer delivery or click and collect! Check it all out here.