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Coronavirus Kent: This is what you can do during eased lockdown from today

The first tentative steps towards easing coronavirus lockdown begin today, with new freedoms being allowed for the first time since restrictions were imposed 52 days ago.

Such luxuries as playing golf, fishing or taking a trip to the garden centre are now permitted, but don't phone up your friends for a kick-about followed by a pint in the pub just yet - because a range of limitations remain in place.

Stock image.
Stock image.

While people were previously allowed outside once a day to exercise, you can now exercise outdoors as often as you want and spend more time outside sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, sunbathing or fishing.

People can also travel to an outdoor space irrespective of distance, and you can also meet one other person from a different household, as long as you follow social distancing measures.

You can now use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball courts, or golf courses -with members of your household, or with one other person from a different household while staying two metres apart - but you will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues.

You can also go to a garden centre, but government guidance stresses you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines wherever you go, ensuring you are two metres away from anyone outside your household.

Millbrook Garden Centre, Gravesend
Millbrook Garden Centre, Gravesend

Meanwhile Bluewater has installed a one-way system as it prepares to reopen as lockdown restrictions are eased, and a number of popular fast food joints have opened stores across Kent.

Earlier this week the government released it's new plan - "Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government's Covid-19 recovery strategy" - which sets out a three-phase approach to easing lockdown.

After the first phase this week, restrictions could be eased further on June 1 followed by further changes on July 4 at the earliest.

But the introduction of each phase still depends on the spread of the virus, and many have urged on the side of caution.

Announcing the new changes at the weekend Boris Johnson also introduced a new slogan, which has changed from "stay at home" to "stay alert".

KMTV's Joe Coshan tries making a home-made face-covering

People have been urged to wear face-coverings on public transport and in some shops, but businesses such as hairdressers, pubs and restaurants will remained closed for now.

Despite the new freedoms, people are still being urged to stay at home as much as possible, and are advised to only leave the house for work if they cannot work from home.

As before, you are allowed to visit shops that are permitted to be open to get things like food and medicine; and can leave the house to due to medical needs or to provide care and help a vulnerable person.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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