Hugging family and weddings - nine questions you might have about the new lockdown rules
On Tuesday, the prime minister Boris Johnson announced a significant easing of lockdown. Here are some of the key questions.
Can I finally hug my mum?
If you don’t live with her, the answer is still no.
Two households can now meet, but if they come round for dinner, for example, they can sit at the same table but must not touch and should attempt to uphold the “one metre-plus” rule.
Social distancing must be aimed for.
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Can I have people round for dinner - and can they stay overnight?
Yes, but only people from one other household and you should aim to maintain the one metre-plus rule.
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Can I go on holiday in the UK?
Mr Johnson told MPs that restaurants, pubs and “self-contained accommodation” including hotels, B&Bs and campsites can soon reopen, as long as government guidelines on how to lower the risk of coronavirus transmission are followed.
As long as your friends or family are from only one other household, then you can take a staycation trip together or go for a pint.
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While the government has not talked up ending the working from home routine that thousands of office staff have adopted since March, the list of steps that could be taken to reduce virus transmission risk might encourage employers to start calling workers back in.
Mr Johnson said “reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, improving ventilation, using protective screens and face coverings” could all be deployed, on top of keeping a metre away from each other. He also suggested shift patterns could be changed so staff work in set teams.
Will I be able to go to my friend’s wedding?
Wedding services with up to 30 guests can take place from July 4 in religious buildings like churches, synagogues and mosques, provided social distancing is maintained. They had been banned under almost all circumstances since lockdown began on March 23.
But social distancing measures will have to maintained in hospitality venues or at people’s houses, meaning receptions may be limited to two households or a maximum of six people outdoors.
Hairdressers will be allowed to reopen from July 4, though beauty salons must remained closed.
Is this the end of lockdown, then?
Not fully. There are still restrictions in place but it is a significant easing and the new measures will allow people to socialise more than they have in months.
But the PM warned that local lockdowns, and even a clampdown affecting the whole country, could still be required if major Covid outbreaks occur.
What will going to a restaurant now be like?
There will be no hanging out at the bar, first of all, with table service being encouraged to reduce the amount of interaction on shared surfaces.
Restaurant, pub and bar managers will also be asked to take customers’ contact details so that, in the event of a local Covid-19 outbreak, they can be traced by the NHS and advised to self-isolate.
While a trip to the pub is back on the cards, clinking glasses with a large group of friends inside is not.
While there is no limit on the size of the two households visiting the watering hole together, more people cannot join in the socialising in a bid to limit the chain of virus transmission.
What else can reopen from July 4?
The PM read out a lengthy list in the Commons of venues and attractions that can now benefit from the lockdown easing.
They include cinemas, museums, art galleries, bingo halls, community centres, hair salons, work canteens, outdoor playgrounds and gyms, as well as indoor attractions at zoos and aquariums.
Places of worship will be able to hold services once again, with weddings back on but numbers capped at 30.
Theatres and concert halls will be allowed to open but will be banned from playing live performances.
Hairdressers and barbers can operate while using use face visors.
And what will remain shut?
Venues where there is “close proximity” interaction will not be permitted to open their doors yet, the PM said.
That includes nightclubs, indoor gyms, soft-play areas, swimming pools, spas, bowling alleys and water parks.
Instead taskforces will work to ensure such businesses can “reopen as soon as possible”.