Lockdown restrictions in England are starting to ease today (Monday) when people will be allowed to meet in groups of up to six for the first time in months.

The Government’s first stage of the easing of the pandemic restrictions will also allow outdoor sport facilities, enabling Burnham’s Avenue Tennis Club and Burnham and Berrow Golf Club to re-open.

But Boris Johnson has urged caution, saying cases are up in Europe and variants threaten the vaccine rollout.

The prime minister said: “Despite today’s easements, everyone must continue to stick to the rules, remember hands, face, space, and come forward for a vaccine when called.”

A new slogan – Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air – is also being unveiled by the government to emphasise the importance of ventilation in reducing the spread of the virus.

How are rules changing today?

  • People will be allowed to meet outside – including in private gardens – in groups of up to six, or as two households (with social distancing)
  • The stay-at-home rule is ending, although the government is urging people to stay local as much as possible; holidays away from home are still not allowed
  • Outdoor sport facilities will reopen, including golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, and outdoor swimming areas
  • Formally organised outdoor sports can restart
  • Weddings can take place, attended by up to six people

Stage two (no earlier than 12 April):

  • All shops allowed to open, along with close-contact services, including hairdressers and beauty salons
  • Restaurants and pubs allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors
  • Gyms and spas can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres
  • Members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation
  • Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place

Stage three (no earlier than 17 May):

  • People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors
  • Six people or two households can meet indoors
  • Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors
  • Up to 30 people can attend weddings or other life events, like christenings
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can open
  • Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas can open
  • Performances and large events can restart, but with limits on audience numbers
  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen
  • International leisure travel may resume
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can restart

Stage four (no earlier than 21 June):

  • All legal limits on social contact will be removed
  • No legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events
  • Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen

What are the four tests for easing restrictions?

  • The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
  • Vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying or needing hospital treatment
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
  • New coronavirus variants do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions

 

 
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