By Rachael Grealish
From today, Monday March 29, the ‘stay at home’ message has been lifted and the ‘rule of six’ returns.
Today’s the day phase 2, of Stage One, of the Prime Minister’s leaving lockdown roadmap begins.
How are rules changing?
- 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 now urging people to stay local as much as possible and ‘minimise travel’.
- Outdoor sport facilities will reopen, including golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, and outdoor swimming areas.
- Formally organised outdoor adult and youth sports can restart.
- Weddings can take place, attended by up to six people.
What rules are the same?
- Non-Essential shops, gyms, leisure centres and entertainment venues must all remain closed, until April 12.
- Pubs and restaurants are closed, except for take away food – they can reopen with outdoor seated service only from April 12.
- Holidays abroad are still banned.
Boris Johnson took to social media to welcome back those eager to restart outdoor sport.
He said: “Ahead of outdoor organised sport returning across England tomorrow, good luck to everyone getting back to the sports you love – from football to netball and much more.
“After a difficult few months, it’s great that so many will be able to get back out there.”
However, the Health and Social Care Secretary has urged the public to stick to the rules in fear of Europes rise COVID-19 saying the virus ‘poses a very real threat’.
Matt Hancock said: “Every day we get closer to beating this virus. We have already vaccinated over half of the adult population – and we have new vaccines coming on stream – but we must remain vigilant.
“I know the last few months have been challenging, and many people are excited to be able see friends and family outdoors for the first time in months.
“As we see from rising cases in Europe, this virus still poses a very real threat. We have come so far thanks to the vaccine rollout and that progress must be protected. So let’s take this next step safely, when you meet others do so outdoors, and keep a safe distance.”
Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, also reminded the public of the dangers posed by breaking the rules and meeting indoors.
He said: “Thanks to the efforts of the public we have reduced the number of cases and deaths but the virus is still in circulation.
“The evidence is very clear that outdoor spaces are safer than indoors. It is important to remember this as we move into the next phase.”
Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus show no symptoms, so anyone could be spreading it without knowing. Someone who is infected releases particles into the air by coughing, talking or breathing.
Research shows the risk of infection is significantly lower in fresh air than indoors because:
- the closer you are to people, the greater the risk of breathing in infected particles, particularly when indoors, as it is harder to physically distance.
- when indoors, smaller droplets and aerosols containing the virus that causes coronavirus can remain suspended in the air for some time, especially if there is no ventilation and therefore build ups are more likely to be inhaled by others.
- when outside in fresh air, the virus disperses more easily.
- when outdoors, there is more room to distance, reducing the risk of breathing in larger particles from an infected person.