Europe

Two weeks until rules change on May 17 – here's what we'll be allowed to do

England is just two weeks away from taking its next big step out of lockdown on May 17.

People have been enjoying greater freedoms for weeks with the reopening of outdoor restaurants and pub gardens, as well as beauty salons, hairdressers and gyms.

We’ve had to endure the freezing cold and predictably torrential rain, but socialising with friends and family is about to get a whole lot warmer.

What lockdown rules are changing on May 17?

If the vaccination rollout continues, and infection rates remain under control, it is hoped people in England will be able to mix indoors from May 17.

The rule of six will still be in force for indoor meet ups, although more than six people may meet inside if there are no more than two households mixing at once.

Hugging friends and family from different households could also be allowed for the first time in more than a year.

Overnight stays at each other’s homes will also be allowed.

Similarly, indoor hospitality venues, including pubs and restaurants, will begin welcoming guests and letting groups of up to six people share a table inside.

Meanwhile, the limit on outdoor gatherings is expected to be increased from six to 30. This includes wedding ceremonies and receptions.

Indoor exercise classes, museums, cinemas and indoor children’s play areas will also reopen.

Some controlled larger indoor and outdoor events will be permitted, with the Government carrying out pilot schemes to figure out how this would work.

Lastly, holidays abroad could be permitted after this date, but people have been discouraged people from booking foreign trips for now.

As with all other stages of the roadmap, lockdown rules will only be eased if these four conditions are met:

  • The vaccination programme continues successfully.
  • Data shows that the vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  • The Government’s risk assessment does not fundamentally change because of any new Covid-19 variants.

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