Flower shows and football games are set to be among the first major outdoor events this summer as the UK emerges from months of lockdown restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus that causes the disease, COVID-19.
The Royal Horticultural Society has announced that the summer shows will be held in person at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey and Tatton Park in Cheshire in July after being canceled last year.
The company announced last month that the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show would be relocated from May to September for the first time in its 108-year history due to coronavirus restrictions.
Last week, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in the US announced that this June its annual Philadelphia Flower Show will be held outdoors for the first time in its 192-year history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have seen a tremendous increase in people starting gardening and growing over the past year. To return to Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park this summer, we hope to also provide inspiration and advice to all gardeners and plant enthusiasts as a much needed celebration of summer, ”said Helena Pettit, RHS Director of Gardens and Shows.
Read: Boris Johnson outlines a roadmap to get England out of lockdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month put in place a four-step plan to liberate the UK from its third lockdown by mid-June. The first step took place this week when millions of school children returned to the classrooms.
It could also be a big summer for football fans who haven't seen a live game in England in almost a year. According to current plans, up to 10,000 fans will be able to take part in the games from May 17th – just in time for the last weekend of the Premier League. As of June 21, all restrictions could be lifted.
The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship with 24 national teams from all parts of the continent starts on June 11th after being postponed for a year. The month-long tournament will be held in 12 cities, a plan drawn up a few years ago and a change from the normal one or two hosts.
Johnson has offered the UK to host all games, with many other countries slowing the adoption of COVID-19 vaccines and likely to be restricted for a few months. The European football association UEFA has so far rejected Johnson's offer, but countries have until April 7th to state whether they can host matches.
The UK will already host both the semi-finals and the final, as well as a number of group matches, but could still turn into a football festival if other countries drop out of the venue and stimulate the economy even further.
Read: The UK plans to increase corporate taxes to pay for COVID expenses
Each step of the government's easing plan will undergo four tests, including the speed of vaccine use in the country and the impact of vaccines on reducing hospital stays and deaths, as well as the overall rate of infection.
More than 22 million people in the UK, or two fifths of the adult population, have now received a shot of the vaccine, which was developed by Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca
with the University of Oxford or the vaccine developed jointly by the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer
with Germany's BioNTech
according to the latest government data.
The government said it was on track to offer the rest of the adult population a first dose by the end of July as it invited people aged 56 to 59 in England to book a COVID-19 vaccine this week.