Watford MP Dean Russell notes that “we cannot rush things” back to normality as he welcomes the ‘steady’ easing of lockdown restrictions.

The Conservative MP called the newly announced roadmap out of lockdown a “cautious and considered approach”.

From March 8, schools will reopen to all pupils, while socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person will be allowed.

A further easing of restrictions will take place on March 29 when the school Easter holidays begin – with larger groups of up to six people or two households allowed to gather in parks and gardens.

Other measures in the road map set out by the Prime Minister include:

• From April 12 at the earliest: shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will reopen.

• From May 17 at the earliest, two households or groups of up to six people will be allowed to mix indoors and limited crowds will be allowed at sporting events.

• From June 21 at the earliest, all remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted, larger events can go ahead and nightclubs could finally reopen.

In response, Mr Russell said: "I am grateful to people across Watford for how they've responded to the challenges of the last year.

“The Prime Minister has rightly announced a cautious and considered approach to coming out of lockdown. The gradual relaxation of the rules means we can continue to closely monitor where local outbreaks may be occurring, or where new strains may be appearing.”

But despite the positive outlook in the coming months, Mr Russell has urged that people continue with the appropriate caution for the time being.

He continued: “I know individuals and businesses are keen to return to normality, as am I. The approach is one led by data and not dates, with the goal to make this the last lockdown. We cannot rush things to ensure we don’t take one step forward, to then take two steps back further down the line.

“The rollout of the vaccine has been incredible with over 17.5 million people receiving their first jab, as we further roll out vaccinations and continue to ramp up testing we will see normality return.

“Now is not a time to undo the hard work and sacrifices of the last year, so as we progress cautiously in the coming months, I continue to urge everyone to continue to monitor and follow the government guidance."