Boris Johnson announced the four-stage plan for the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in February – with the third change to rules taking place today.
All restrictions could be lifted by June 21.
In the first phase, all pupils in England’s schools returned to the classroom on March 8.
Socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person was also once again permitted again at that stage.
Further easing of the rules came on March 29, with the return of the rule of six – permitting groups of up to six people to meet outdoors and in private gardens.
The rules were eased again on April 12 – including the reopening of non-essential shops and you will be able to go for a drink in the beer gardens at pubs.
The next stage in easing comes into force today – find out more about what will change on that day.
Find out more information below.
What will change from May 17?
From May 17 you should continue to work from home if you can.
When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.
People should continue to get a test and follow the stay at home guidance if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
The following rules are also changing from May 17:
- Gathering limits will be eased. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings will be limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
- Domestic overnight stays will be allowed again from May 17.
- Hugging friends, family and loved ones from different households will also be allowed again from May 17.
- People will also be given the choice whether or not to socially distance from anyone you don’t live with – the emphasis is now on personal responsibility rather than government rules but you will still be encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19.
- Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas will be permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place.
- People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
- Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
- Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes). This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
- All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
- Funeral attendance will no longer be limited to 30 people, but will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events will be increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people.
- The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors will change, allowing up to five named visitors (two at any one time), provided visitors test negative for COVID-19.
- All higher education students will be able to access in-person teaching.
- Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits will increase to 30 people (not including under 5s)
- There will no longer be a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. A traffic light system will come into place – and the first set of green list countries has been revealed, including Portugal.
You must still wear face masks/ coverings when in an indoor setting – such as in shops and places of worship, and on public transport, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.
What will change from June 21?
The last step will be no earlier than June 21 – and at least five weeks after the third step – when it is hoped that all legal limits on social contact will be removed.
It is also hoped that the final closed sectors of the economy, such as nightclubs, could be allowed to reopen, while restrictions on large events could also be eased.