The initial stage of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown kicked in this week, symbolising the first relaxation of a three-month long lockdown where staying at home has been more important than ever.
People across England had been patiently waiting for this date ever since the Prime Minister announced the government’s four-stage plan back in February. After cancelled Christmases and forced quarantines, many of us were desperate to get out first taste of normality – even if it was just going to the park with more than one person.
Each stage of Mr Johnson’s lockdown roadmap is spaced five weeks apart and will only go ahead if certain conditions have been satisfied - such as keeping control of new variants and case rates included.
So what are we currently allowed to do – and what does that mean for socialising this Easter weekend? We’ve got it all explained here:
Have fun with five other people – ie the rule of six
People are allowed to meet up outdoors in groups of six, or two households. Meeting indoors is not permitted, but socialising can take place in people’s gardens - opening the spring season up to some much needed barbecues and picnics, and maybe that Easter egg hunt you’ve been talking about.
This is a slight adjustment to the socialising rules put in place as lockdown lifted last year, where the meeting of two households was also limited to six people. Two households that total more than six people are now also free to meet unrestricted.
Support bubbles are counted as one household and children under the age of five are not included in any headcounts.
The government is still encouraging people to keep these meetings local.
Play tennis or visit a lido – ie outdoor sports and leisure facilities can reopen
This includes outdoor gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, water sports venues, golf courses, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas and archery venues.
Activities under this umbrella can be attended by six individuals or two households.
Go and watch a kickabout - ie formally organised sports games can take place
Larger organised sports such as football and rugby matches are permitted providing the “appropriate steps” are taken to make the events Covid-secure. This is likely to include regular sanitation and mask-wearing outside of gameplay.
Weddings can go ahead – you’ll just have to strike lucky with this one
Up to six people can attend a wedding ceremony in a place of worship - this includes the couple getting married.
Outdoor child and parent groups can meet for activities
Businesses eligible to host outdoor child and parent activities for up to 15 parents are allowed to do so. Children under five are not included in this headcount.
The next step - what will you be able to do on April 12th?
If all goes to plan, England will be open for further activities from April 12th at the earliest.
This will bring the wedding capacities up to 15 people, open up non-essential retail, and allow pubs and restaurants to serve food and drink outside.