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Lockdown easing: Can I see friends and family indoors?

·4-min read
Lockdown easing: Can I see friends and family indoors?
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

On February 22, Boris Johnson announced his “road map” out of lockdown, with a four-part plan to relax coronavirus restrictions over the coming months.

One of the main areas Mr Johnson covered was how social restrictions will be eased... but only if four tests are met at each stage.

These tests include the success of the vaccines rollout, whether there is evidence vaccines are reducing hospital admissions and deaths, the level of infection rates and the presence of any new Covid variants.

From the revival of the “rule of six” to the future of indoor mixing, here’s what Mr Johnson said about when people might be able to meet up again with their friends and family:

When will we be able to see friends and family again?

On March 8, the rules changed to allow people to meet one person from a different household for a coffee or a picnic outside in socially distanced one-on-one meet ups.

This coincided with the full reopening of schools across England.

Three weeks later, on March 29, outdoor gatherings were once again permitted either under the rule of six or between two households.

This meant groups of a maximum of six people from multiple households can get together outside, including in private gardens, with a greater number allowed if the meet-up is between two households only.

It coincided with schools breaking up for Easter, meaning that people can have contact with loved ones and friends whom they may not have seen for a long time during the holidays.

The “stay at home” message has also came to an end, allowing people to go out more. It was replaced by the instruction to “stay local”.

From April 12, pubs and restaurants reopened for outdoor purposes only, meaning people are allowed to meet friends or family in beer gardens as long as they abide by the rule of six or are made up of two households.

From May 17, a further easing of Covid restrictions went ahead as planned in England. Mr Johnson confirmed on Monday 10 May friends and family would be able to hug and mix indoors from May 17 including in pubs and restaurants.

In the press conference, the PM confirmed the continued easing of restrictions, which also saw the reopening of cinemas, museums and theatres. Gyms can also hold group classes.

The final stage of lockdown easing was slated for June 21, when nightclubs would be allowed to reopen and limits on audiences at theatres, sporting events and music concerts would be lifted.

However at a press conference on June 14, Boris Johnson announced a four-week delay to so-called Freedom Day, pushing it back to July 19.

When could we meet friends and family indoors again?

Indoor mixing was allowed again from May 17.

The rule of six or two households applies.

Gatherings of more than 30 remained illegal.

Is social distancing likely to remain in place?

Social distancing measures have been enforced throughout the pandemic.

However, since May 17 you have been able to hug friends and family.

It was anticipated that remaining social distancing restrictions would be lifted on June 21. However that has been pushed back to July 19 amid concern about rising cases of the Delta variant that originated in India.

Are we able to travel?

From April 12, people were able to go on holiday with their own household as long as it is to self-contained accommodation such as holiday lets and campsites.

However, they have to be places where indoor services are not shared with other households.

Mr Johnson confirmed that foreign travel would be permitted under the Government’s green list from May 17.

Brits returning home from a handful of countries on the Government’s green list do not have to self-isolate when international travel resumes.

The list include Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar and Israel.

Traditional holiday spots including France, Spain and Greece have not made the green list due to the level of Covid-19 cases there, and lower vaccination rates than the UK.

Those travelling to green list countries do not have to self-isolate on their return but are required to take a PCR test.

Travellers to the UK from "red list" countries must quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.

How is the Government reaching its decisions over easing restrictions?

The Prime Minister said his road map will contain four tests for easing restrictions.

The Government will take into account the success of the vaccines rollout, whether there is evidence they are reducing hospital admissions and deaths, the level of infection rates and the presence of any new Covid variants.

Such data will be examined ahead of each step along the road map before measures are unlocked any further.

Read More

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