"it will allow us to do many of the things"
Covid-19 restrictions will be eased further as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced it will go ahead as planned in England from May 17, 2021.
In February 2021, the PM had unveiled a roadmap out of lockdown which would see restrictions gradually lifted if the government’s tests are met.
Mr Johnson addressed the nation from Downing Street and announced that Step Three of the roadmap will go ahead.
This comes as England recorded zero Covid-19 deaths for the first time since July 30, 2020.
He thanked the public for their efforts, giving the UK time to roll out the vaccine and “unquestionably saving many lives”.
Mr Johnson said that the UK remains “on track” to fully reopen on June 21, 2021.
Hugging & Overnight Stays
One announcement made was that hugging will be allowed, however, Mr Johnson advised people to use their judgement in deciding who to hug.
He added that whether or not they are vaccinated should play a role in this decision.
Mr Johnson said: “Today we are announcing the single biggest step on our road map, and it will allow us to do many of the things we have yearned to do for a long time.
“Let’s protect these gains.”
Boris Johnson also confirmed that indoor mixing will be allowed. Groups of six or two households are permitted.
Groups of up to 30 people will be allowed to meet outdoors.
People in England will also be allowed to stay overnight at another house.
Pubs, Bars & Restaurants
Pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to reopen for indoor drinking and dining.
It will be the first time since 2020 the vast majority of these pubs and restaurants have been allowed to serve customers indoors.
Many were forced to close or move to takeaway service only.
Other sectors which can reopen include cinemas, museums, hotels and children’s play areas.
Concert halls, conference centres and sports stadiums will also be allowed.
Large events in those venues will have capacity limits.
Theatres will resume. Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, said:
“Today’s confirmation that Step 3 of the Government roadmap will go ahead on May 17 is very good news, allowing England’s theatre industry to begin the process of reopening.
“A number of theatres will be welcoming audiences back to socially distanced performances while also creating work for our world-leading workforce.
“Theatres will be following our industry-wide See it Safely protocols to ensure a consistency of customer experience and that the latest government Covid guidelines are being followed.
“We are optimistic that this announcement paves the way for a full reopening from June 21, and it is hugely encouraging to see audience confidence growing, reflected in increasing ticket sales.”
Schools & Masks
Since lessons resumed in school in March 2021, face coverings have been a must.
But following Boris Johnson’s announcement, May 17 means that pupils will no longer need to wear masks.
For university students, they are allowed to return for in-person teaching.
Stay in UK
The “stay in the UK” restriction will also be lifted.
This means that people will be able to travel to countries on the green list.
This currently includes Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel.
Weddings & Funerals
Weddings, receptions and other life events can take place with up to 30 people.
However, dancing is still strictly banned.
As for funerals, the 30-person limit will be lifted.
This means that any number of mourners will be allowed to gather as long as they do so in line with the venue’s Covid-safe capacity and with social distancing in place.
While England continues to open up amid falling Covid-19 cases, social distancing remains in place.
However, the plan for June 21, 2021, remains on track.
This will mean that social distancing will be scrapped and larger events like nightclubs will reopen.