THE Prime Minister Boris Johnson will later today announce how the easing of national lockdown restrictions will happen as key details have already emerged.

In the next few hours, the PM will unveil how the country will exit the third lockdown as we head towards the two-month mark under tough restrictions.

Already, some details have emerged with the Vaccines Minister today appearing to confirm schools in England will reopen next month.

We've put together what we know so far and what is expected to happen as the PM makes his speech at 3.30pm. 

It remains likely that the easing of lockdown restrictions will take place in stages, similar to the first national lockdown.

Number 10 has already insisted that the “stay at home” message will remain in place despite the relaxation of some restrictions.

Meanwhile, the PM today said his roadmap out of the third lockdown will contain four tests at each stage, based on the vaccine rollout, hospital admissions, deaths, infection rates and impact from new variants.

Here's what is expected to be announced this afternoon...

1. Schools in England set to reopen next month

Adding to what the Vaccines Minister this morning appeared to confirm, the PM is expected to say that all pupils in all year groups will return from March 8.

He is also set to say that outdoor after-school sports and activities will be allowed to restart from the March 8 date.

2. Some mixing of households to be allowed

Under current restrictions, people from other households are not permitted to mix indoors and outdoors, unless in a support or childcare bubble.

But from March 8, it is understood that people will be allowed to have socially-distanced one-to-one meetings with other households in an outdoor public space.

SEE MORE: Covid rates in the North-East and North Yorkshire as third lockdown to be eased

It means friends and family members could sit down for a coffee or have a picnic in the park, something not currently allowed. 

3. Groups permitted to meet outdoors weeks later

It is expected that larger groups will be allowed to gather in parks and gardens from March 29.

The “rule of six” will return, along with new measures allowing two households, totalling more than six people, to meet.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts are also set to reopen at the end of next month.

Organised adult and children’s sport – including grassroots football – would also be allowed to return.

Guidance asking people to remain in their local area will also be lifted, the Telegraph has reported, meaning families could drive somewhere to go for a walk.

4. Return to a tiered-lockdown system unlikely 

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has already suggested the four-tier system will be scrapped as we leave the third national lockdown. 

This is because the virus is currently viewed as to be fairly uniformly spread across the country.

Therefore any changes announced to restrictions are understood to be applied across all regions signalling an end to the tiered-system. 

5. Pubs, cafes and restaurants to open later this year

Various reports suggest hospitality could return at some point between the Easter weekend and May, with a focus on outdoor provision first.

It has been reported that April is the earliest pubs and restaurants are likely to be allowed to reopen, with service to be permitted outdoors only.

It is understood that today's announcement may not confirm a reopening date for non-essential retail in England.

What Boris Johnson has said

Ahead of his speech in the House of Commons this afternoon, the PM has said every step in the easing of restrictions will have to be done "cautiously."

He said: “Today I’ll be setting out a road map to bring us out of lockdown cautiously.

SEE MORE: Covid rates in the North-East and North Yorkshire as third lockdown to be eased

“Our priority has always been getting children back into school which we know is crucial for their education as well as their mental and physical wellbeing, and we will also be prioritising ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely.

“Our decisions will be made on the latest data at every step, and we will be cautious about this approach so that we do not undo the progress we have achieved so far and the sacrifices each and every one of you has made to keep yourself and others safe.

“We have therefore set four key tests which must be met before we can move through each step of the plan.”

Last night, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that there will be “weeks between the steps” so ministers can “watch carefully” the impact of each relaxation of the restrictions.