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 will go ahead as planned in England. Mr Johnson confirmed on Monday 10 May friends and family will 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 will also see cinemas, museums and theatres reopen. Gyms can also hold group classes.

When will we be able to meet friends and family indoors again?

Indoor mixing will be allowed again from May 17.

The rule of six or two households will apply.

Gatherings of more than 30 will remain illegal.

Will social distancing still be in place?

Social distancing measures have been enforced throughout the pandemic and it’s likely that the roadmap will encourage people to still keep a certain distance as lockdown eases.

However, you will be able to hug friends and family from May 17.

When will we be 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 will be permitted under the Government’s green list from May 17.

Brits returning home from 12 countries on the Government’s green list will not have to self-isolate when international travel resumes.

The list includes Portugal, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar and Israel.

Traditional holiday spots including France, Spain and Greece have not made the green list due to increasing Covid-19 cases.

Those travelling to green list countries will not have to self-isolate on their return but will be 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.

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