Lockdown changes have come into effect in England today (May 17), but there are still a number of things you’re not allowed to do.
As pubs and restaurants open their doors for indoor hospitality, some are still – literally – left out in the cold.
So, with today widely being hailed as “freedom day”, what can and can’t you do from today as lockdown eases?
Read on, because we have all the details.
Lockdown changes: What’s new today?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed today’s easing as a “considerable step on the road back to normality”.
From today, pubs and restaurants are able to serve food and drink indoors.
However, if you’re drinking or dining with a group of more than six (or two households) then you won’t be allowed inside.
Instead, you’ll need to reach for the blanket and drink and dine outside for now.
Indoor entertainment venues such as museums cinemas and children’s play areas are also allowed to reopen.
What about concerts and sporting events?
Elsewhere, theatres, concert halls and conference centres an start hosting events once more – but with capacity limits.
Concerts, theatre performances and sporting events can also take place with a limited audience.
Indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, are also permitted.
Outdoor events can host 4,000 people or 50% capacity.
There are also special provisions in place for large outdoor seated events of up to 10,000 people or 25% of the venue’s capacity.
Can we finally go on holiday now?
Brits can also go on holiday – both at home and overseas.
Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can now open, while overseas travel is once again permitted.
Only 12 countries are on the government’s green list though – meaning you can holiday there without quarantine on your return as long as you provide a negative COVID test once you’re back in Blighty.
Places like Spain and France are on the amber list.
Travel from them back into the UK is permitted, but it comes with a lot of restrictions.
COVID tests need to be booked for days two and eight after your return.
Plus you have to quarantine at home for 10 days as soon as you get back.
What’s changed when it comes to mixing with family and friends?
When it comes to meeting friends and family, changes are also afoot.
You can now gather outside in groups of up to 30.
Inside, you can meet socially in a group of six or mix with one other household.
You can also stay overnight in other’s people’s homes – again following the rule or six or two households.
Weddings and funerals – the rules have been updated
The rules about weddings and funerals have also changed today.
Weddings, receptions and other commemorative events including wakes can go ahead with up to 30 attendees.
So big weddings are still a way off, it would seem.
A cap on the number of people attending funerals has also be lifted.
However, capacity limits for funerals will apply depending on how many people can be safely accommodated at the venue.
Lockdown changes: So what is still on the banned list?
Care homes have the most associated rules, it would seem.
While five named visitors are now allowed to visit relatives, the change comes with strict conditions.
Social distancing will remain in place in adult social care and patients must have no more than two visitors at a time.
They must wear PPE provided by the care home and deliver a negative COVID test.
What’s happening with social distancing?
You can also choose whether or not you socially distance from close friends and family from different households.
But social distancing will not become a thing of the past just yet.
It will remain on a wider scale in medical, retail, hospitality and business settings.
Regular COVID testing in all education settings will also remain in place, so there’s no escaping the dreaded throat swab.
Students must take twice-weekly tests, including those at university, who can return to in-person teaching from today.
Lockdown changes: So what happens next?
The next changes are set to come into place on June 21.
However, there are fears the unlocking won’t go quite to plan thanks to the Indian variant, which is now spreading throughout the UK.
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