By Rachael Grealish
Brits will be able to hug six mates indoors, head to the cinema or even jet abroad from May 17, as the Prime Minister confirms the country will move into step three of the COVID lockdown roadmap.
Speaking from Downing Street – joined by he government’s chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance and its chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty – Boris Johnson said today, Monday May 10, ‘Today we are announcing the single biggest step on our roadmap’.
He said: “I can confirm today that we’ve met our four tests for further easing lockdown in England. With deaths and hospitalisations at their lowest levels since last July – and the UK’s four chief medical officers agree in the reduction of the alert level – the data now support moving to step three in England from next Monday May 17.”
The PM continued: “This unlocking amounts to a very considerable step back to normality and I am confident that we will be able to go further.
“Subject to the impact of step three on the data we remain on track to move to step four on June 21.”
Johnson said he hopes that soon we will ‘cease to rely on specific government edicts and make our own choices’ about social distancing and socialising.
He continued saying this ‘doesn’t mean suddenly we can throw caution to the wind’ and urged people to ‘think about the vulnerability of your loved ones’.
“Today we are announcing the single biggest step on our roadmap, it will allow us to do many things we have yearned to do for a long time,” he added.
“Let’s protect these gains by continuing to exercise caution and common sense.”
Prof Whitty confirmed two thirds of adults in the UK have now had one dose of the vaccine and one third are fully vaccinated.
So, what changes from May 17:
- People will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people, and indoors in groups of up to six or as two households.
- Pubs, restaurants and bars will be able to reopen indoors, with groups of up to six people or two households to a table.
- Indoor entertainment will also resume with the reopening of cinemas, museums and children’s play areas.
- Theatres, concert halls, conference centres and stadiums can all reopen, with larger events at reduced capacity.
- Organised adult sport and exercise classes can restart indoors, but a decision is yet to be made on saunas and steam rooms.
- Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen, with overnight stays allowed within the UK in groups of up to six people or two households.
- Weddings, receptions and other life events can take place with up to 30 people.
- The limit on numbers attending funerals will be removed in line with how many people can be safely accommodated in venues.
- People will now ‘have the choice on whether to socially distance with close family or friends’ or not.
- Wider social distancing rules will remain in place in adult social care, medical, retail, hospitality and business settings.
- Care home residents will be allowed five regular visitors and greater freedoms to make low-risk visits outside of their home.
- In secondary schools and colleges, pupils will no longer be required to wear face coverings in classrooms and communal areas.
- All remaining university students will be eligible to return to in-person teaching and learning, but should be tested twice a week on their return.
- Thirty people will be allowed to attend a support group or parent and child group – with children under five not included in this limit.
- The ban on international travel will end and people will be free to travel to green list countries.
- Travelling to and from amber and red list countries will require stricter measures.