IT will be a busy month for rule changes as the next set of national lockdown restrictions are expected to be lifted.

Already, some restrictions on who you can and cannot meet have been eased, with the introduction of the rule-of-six.

Meanwhile the Government's 'Stay Home' message has now changed to 'Stay Local,' meaning you no longer need a reason to leave your home.

But in less than two weeks' time, the North-East and the rest of the country are set to see a wave of restrictions eased - and it isn't just beer gardens.

From April 12, the Government's roadmap out of lockdown will move into step two.

The Northern Echo:

As restrictions are eased, pubs, restaurants and cafes in England will be permitted to reopen outdoors.

New rules coming in will see venues allowed to serve food and drink in outdoor spaces, and without any form of curfew.

Although Government guidance, already published ahead of April 12, has set out what rules customers and publicans will have to follow - click here

The Northern Echo:

From April 12, non-essential retail and close contact services - including barbers and nail salons - will be permitted to trade once again.

After more than three months of closure, non-essential shops, personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres will reopen.

The Government guidance states these are the following businesses that will be allowed to reopen.

- clothing and fashion stores and tailors

- retail travel agents

- homeware stores

- carpet stores

- kitchen, bathroom, tile, and glazing showrooms

- tobacco and vape shops

- electronic goods and mobile phone shops

- charity shops

- photography stores

- antique stores

- homeopathic and naturopathic medicine, traditional chinese medicine, and ayurveda

- markets 

- car and other vehicle showrooms and other premises, including outdoor areas, used for the sale of caravans, boats or any vehicle which can be propelled by mechanical means.

- car washes

- auction houses

- betting shops

The Northern Echo:

From this date, indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also be allowed to reopen - but strictly for use by people on their own, or in household groups.

It means that the rule-of-six will not be permitted, as restrictions on mixing with others indoors remain in place.

The Northern Echo:

The guidance also states that most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas will be allowed to reopen.

Meanwhile self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.

From April 12, funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.

How likely is this all to happen?

When the PM Boris Johnson announced the roadmap out of the third national lockdown, he said that easing of rules would be done in stages.

He provided the dates in which rules would be relaxed at the earliest as he said it depended on the country meeting four tests.

Those are the Covid vaccine roll-out, the vaccine's effectiveness on reducing hospitalisations and deaths, infection rates and whether they are likely to surge which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS, and emerging variants of the virus.

There has been no suggestion so far that further easing of lockdown measures will not continue as planned.