Monday 29 March marks the first significant shift in the lockdown rules in England since Boris Johnson announced the roadmap in February.
While you’ll have to wait a while longer for your haircut or holiday, some restrictions will be easing that should hopefully make it easier to see friends and family again outdoors. Here’s how the rules are changing in England from today.
You can meet in (small) groups outdoors
Until now, you’ve only been able to meet with one other person outdoors. From March 29, you can meet up to six people from six different households (a return to the rule of six), or you can meet in a larger group if this only contains two households (e.g. two families of four people, totalling eight people). Gatherings must take place outside, but you’re allowed to spend time in private gardens.
“Those eligible to form a support bubble will still be able to do so, enabling close contact for many of those in most need of support, and will continue to be counted as part of the same household,” the government website explains.
Outdoor sports can resume
Outdoor sports facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, plus open-air swimming pools will be allowed to reopen.
If you’re having an informal kick-about with your mates, you’ll have to stick to the rule of six. However, “formally organised outdoor sports”, such as those organised by a club, will not be subject to the gatherings limits, but “should be compliant with guidance issued by national governing bodies”.
There are some (slight) changes to weddings
Weddings will still be limited to six attendees, but will no longer be limited to “exceptional circumstances” only, meaning all couples wanting an intimate wedding will be able to go ahead.
The rules on funerals remain unchanged: 30 people can attend a service, but only six people can attend a wake.
You’ll no longer be told to ‘stay at home’
People will no longer be legally required to “stay at home”, the government has confirmed – but what this means for your day-to-day life isn’t so significant.
Travel abroad is still restricted in almost all circumstances and people will be asked to “minimise travel wherever possible” within the UK. Overnight stays or indoor visits are still banned, and people should “continue to work from home where they can”.
However, if the ‘stay local’ rule was preventing you from visiting family and friends for a walk in a neighbouring county, you’ll finally be able to see them.