Most papers lead with Boris Johnson’s confirmation that shops, gyms and hairdressers in England can reopen next week, along with outdoor hospitality.
Noting that pubs will reopen next Monday but holidays are still on hold, the Sun delivers its verdict – “glass half full.”
But there is also a sense of disappointment that the road ahead is unlikely to be smooth and full of uncertainties.
“Call this Freedom?” is the question posed by the Daily Mail, pointing to the prospects of weekly tests, no foreign travel, jab passports, social distancing and what it calls a new doomsday warning of a third wave.
The paper points to the warning by Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) that hospital admissions could once again hit the levels seen in January.
The Daily Telegraph finds Boris Johnson’s caution on lifting the coronavirus restrictions hard to justify.
It reminds us that the prime minister once said he would be guided by data not dates. Yet, the paper says, even though the number of Covid cases have fallen faster than predicted – with no surge caused by the return of schools – it is the roadmap dates that are determining the pace of relaxation.
The paper argues crisis measures are only defensible when the emergency is in full flood.
But the i newspaper sees merits in the prime minister’s caution. It warns of new cases which could see a surge because of the South African variant of the virus.
The paper says this could lessen the impact of vaccines and begin to cause real harm. It also reminds us of Sage’s forecast of a third wave which could hit the UK in late summer or autumn.
Passports and tests
The government’s suggestion that “vaccine passports” could be used by pubs and restaurants to relax social distancing rules is covered by many papers and websites.
The Guardian says Sir Keir Starmer is expected to vote against the move.
HuffPost UK recalls that more than 70 Tory MPs have already signed a cross-party letter opposing the introduction of Covid certificates.
The website notes that the government is to begin trials to enable the safe return of crowds to mass gatherings including FA cup finals at Wembley and indoor events such as comedy clubs.
Meanwhile, a professor of public health at Newcastle University, Allyson Pollock, has told the Daily Mail that regular testing for the coronavirus will do more harm than good.
Calling it a “scandalous waste of money”, she argues that such tests will result in a public health disaster with thousands forced needlessly to self-isolate.
And with no foreign holidays in sight for potentially some time, the Daily Star reports of more than 500 pop-up campsites coming up to meet soaring demands for domestic holidays.
The paper says the “law to get Britain to Carry on Camping like Barbara Windsor in the classic comedy movie” has been relaxed to allow pop-up sites to open for 56 days without planning permission – twice as many in recent years.
According to the Financial Times, the pandemic has prompted more people in Wales to support devolution – with many young people calling for independence.
The paper says although support for Welsh independence is nowhere near a majority, the coronavirus crisis appears to have given Wales a much greater belief in the virtues of self-government.
Western Isles tunnel
The Scotsman says Transport Scotland is considering a 17-mile tunnel between Rarnish on Benbecula and Neist Point on Skye – a project that could take shape over the next 20 years.
Supporters of the plan believe it would improve quality of life and economic growth of the islands by making travel easier for residents, workers and business.
Several papers have reported about a motion passed by the teachers union NASUWT on Monday calling for black history to be fully embedded and taught across the curriculum.
The Times says the motion was brought by the union’s former president, Michelle Codrington-Rogers, who said children are taught about black people as slaves, victims of colonisation and having a heritage only based in pain rather than as scientists, military strategists and authors.
But the Daily Express says the move has sparked anger among some other teachers.
Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph has a warning to children: offensive old tweets and comments could jeopardise your future career, as police are recording them as non-crime hate incidents.
The paper reveals that more than 2,000 such incidents have been recorded against under-17s since 2014. It says non-crime hate incidents are defined as actions of hostility based on religion, race, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity and must be recorded.
Fresh research on Giacomo Casanova may change your view of the Venetian adventurer as the most famous womaniser in history.
The Times reports a new analysis of Casanova’s 18th century memoirs which reveals him to be a doctor with a kinder nature. The paper says posterity may, it turns out, have overlooked the tender heart of a breaker of hearts.
And the Guardian reveals that the sounds of an Easter concert performed for James IV in a Scottish chapel 500 years ago have been recreated using gaming technology and new techniques.
The paper says researchers have captured how they believe choral music would have sounded when played and sung in the now-ruined chapel at Linlithgow Palace, West Lothian, the birth place of Mary Queen of Scots.