The first steps are being taken to ease the UK out of lockdown, since the Government introduced physical distancing guidelines and restrictions on activities such as non-essential travel.
Here are some of the changes that lockdown has brought and may remain after:
1. Social distancing
Staying two metres apart from each other will still be key to keeping many people safe as the lockdown rules are eased. Government chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance told a Downing Street press conference: Its not an absolute beyond two metres is safe and slightly less is not safe, theres a graduation across that, and so roughly, at a metre, its somewhere between 10 and 30 times more risky than at two metres.
Global carbon emissions from energy usage are expected to fall by almost 8% in 2020, in the biggest drop in history, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It predicts a year-on-year reduction of around 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from energy use including electricity, transport and heating, bringing emissions to levels they were 10 years ago. The fall is down to predicted declines in coal, gas and oil this year and the impacts of subsequent recessions. But the IEA warned that a rebound in emissions after the pandemic could be larger than the decline unless investment in restarting the economy goes towards cleaner and more resilient energy supplies.
The lockdown has shown community spirit in action, with simple acts like the Thursday Clap for our Carers, saying hello on the doorstep and social media groups bringing people together. Twice as many people are chatting with their neighbours than this time last year, according to a survey commissioned for the Big Lunch neighbourhood project. More than 2,500 people said they had stopped for a natter with a neighbour in the past week. This is six in 10 of the 4,000 people surveyed between May 10 and 13, up from 30% in 2019, while one in three (1,171) said they had helped a neighbour during the pandemic.
4. Shopping local
The nation has learned to love shopping locally as local producers, stores and businesses have kept calm and well-stocked amid a bleaker outlook for the high street. Consumer intelligence company Springboard thinks there may be a retail spending spike despite the rise in online shopping from pent-up consumers when most non-essential retailers can reopen on June 15. Diane Wehrle, Springboards insights director, says consumers will be cautious and looking at reining in their spend due to ongoing financial uncertainty in many UK households.