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This is everything you can do from Monday as Covid restrictions continue to be eased


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Boris Johnson has today confirmed a further easing of lockdown measures in England from next week as the country continues on its 'roadmap to freedom'.

Monday, May 17 will mark the start of step three of the Prime Minister's plan to cautiously lift Covid restrictions based on data, not dates. So what do we have to look forward to from Monday?

There will be no need for people to find creative ways around the no hugging rule, such as this one by Gravesend dad Thomas Ewing. Picture: SWNS/Thomas Ewing
There will be no need for people to find creative ways around the no hugging rule, such as this one by Gravesend dad Thomas Ewing. Picture: SWNS/Thomas Ewing

Meeting other people

More indoor mixing and hugging loved ones will be permitted once more.

People will be allowed to meet in groups of under 30 outdoors. And indoors, the rule of six still applies or the limit of two households.

The government has said it will be up to individuals to decide what level of risk they want to take according to their situation. Gatherings of 30 or more people are still illegal.

The Prime Minister heralded the latest step as a "very considerable unlocking" .

"This unlocking amounts to a very considerable step on the road to normality," he said. "I'm confident we will be able to go further, subject to the impact of step 3 on the data, we remain on track to go to step 4 on 21 June.

He added: "Your efforts have so visibly paid off, giving us time to vaccinate more than 2/3 of adults across UK with more than 1/3, nearly 18 million, also receiving second dose, thereby unquestionably saving millions of lives."

But people were urged not to "throw caution to the wind" and have been asked to remain cautious about the risks that come with close personal contact.

Wider social distancing rules will remain in place in adult social care, medical, retail, hospitality and business settings.

Customers will once again be allowed to eat indoors
Customers will once again be allowed to eat indoors

No more shivering in beer gardens

From next week, braving the wind and rain to have a meal out will be a thing of the past as indoor hospitality will reopen.

Table service will still be in place in pubs, cafes and restaurants to avoid queuing at the bar.

Pub-goers will also continue to be free to have a pint without having to buy a substantial meal.

There will be no 10pm curfews, as was introduced by the government in September last year, to the dismay of many in the industry.

Cinemas are preparing to reopen. Stock image
Cinemas are preparing to reopen. Stock image

Opening up entertainment and sport

Indoor locations such as cinemas can reopen.

Film fans will be eager to return to watch the latest releases on the big screen and several venues in Kent have already revealed what they are planning to show.

May 17 will also herald a return to theatres and indoor sporting arenas, with a maximum capacity of 1,000 people.

There will be a staggered reopening of theatres from next week with a number of performances lined up on stages across the county.

Sports stadiums and conference centres will also reopen with capacity limits.

Organised adult sport and exercise classes can resume indoors and saunas and steam rooms may reopen.

Some international travel is to resume. Stock image
Some international travel is to resume. Stock image

Holidays and travel

Hotels, hostels and B&Bs in England will be allowed to take group bookings, meaning people can more easily plan domestic holidays.

Overnight stays in the country will be allowed in groups of up to 6 people or two households.

The Prime Minister has previously announced that Britons will be allowed to travel to green list countries without having to quarantine, providing they take one post-arrival test.

Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland and the Faroe Islands – plus several small remote islands which are British Overseas Territories are currently on this list.

However, entry to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and the Faroe Islands is severely restricted.

Indoor soft play centres will be able to reopen. Stock image
Indoor soft play centres will be able to reopen. Stock image

Soft play centres

They have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, so owners of soft play centres, not to mention a lot of parents, are looking forward to May 17.

The indoor venues will be allowed to reopen, although social distancing will still have to be adhered to.

In a further boost to young mums and dads 30 people will be able to attend a support group or parent and child group.

Weddings, funerals and care homes

Up to 30 people will be able to join together for weddings, receptions, funerals, wakes and religious ceremonies such as bar mitzvahs and christenings.

The cap on the numbers attending funerals will also be lifted in line with how many people can be safely accommodated.

Care home visiting will be eased further with residents able to have up to five named visitors and greater freedoms to make low risk visits out of the home.

Organisers of events such as Neverworld, pictured, have announced scaled down versions. Picture: Kate Darkins
Organisers of events such as Neverworld, pictured, have announced scaled down versions. Picture: Kate Darkins

Larger outdoor events and festivals

Outdoor arenas will be able to host live events with a maximum number of 4,000 attendees.

Large outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, can welcome up to a limit of 10,000 people.

Organisers of some of the biggest events in Kent have announced scaled down versions for 2021, such as the Kent County Show and the Neverworld Festival.

Other attractions have come up with new ventures, such as the 'Summer Social' planned at Dreamland, Margate, a mix of DJ sets and screenings of live sport.

Lockdown rules could ease again from June 21
Lockdown rules could ease again from June 21

What is happening next?

Before the beginning of stage four of the lockdown roadmap, the government plans to conduct a review of long-term measures put in place to cut transmission.

This review will determine when measures such as social distancing, face mask wearing and working from home where possible will be lifted.

If cases remain low, all limits on social contact could end as early as June 21 and venues such as nightclubs could be allowed to reopen.

In the meantime the Prime Minister has urged people to "keep getting tested regularly" and even if not presenting with symptoms.

"I must ask you to continue to follow social distancing when not with friends or family," said Boris Johnson.

"We only have to look at sad situations in other countries to see the lethal effect of this virus.

"While we have no evidence that these variants are vaccine resistant, we must remain vigilant."

He added: "Let's protect these gains by continuing to exercise caution and common sense."

The latest data shows infection rates are at their lowest level since last September, and deaths and hospital admissions are at their lowest level since last July.

The UK has now vaccinated more than two thirds of all adults with more than 17 million people having received their second dose.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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