THE current lockdown message of 'stay home' is changing to 'stay local' on 29 March - but what does that mean? 

As the country eases out of lockdown following the Prime Minister Boris Johnson's four-stage 'roadmap', the current 'stay home' messaging will be changing. 

'Stay local' is expected to be the new message rolled out from 29 March - just before the Easter bank holiday weekend on April 4.

From 29 March people will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the "rule of six", including in private gardens.

However, Councillor Nicola Greene, portfolio holder for COVID-19 resilience and public health said: “We know families are facing a challenge as they look ahead to Easter and think about how to keep everyone entertained.

"However, COVID-19 is still very much a real threat in our communities so it’s vital people stick to the rules just that bit longer and adhere to the government guidance.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole when it’s safe to do so but for now, please play your part in helping to stop the spread of this deadly virus and if you do head out for exercise, stay local.”

READ MORE: Easter school holidays 2021: Bank holiday dates - including when schools will break up

Will we be allowed to celebrate Easter with our family?

Bournemouth Echo:

The rule on family get togethers over Easter (image - stock)

As far as current guidelines are concerned and as long as we enter the next stage provided all tests are met, then yes we will be able to celebrate Easter with our family.

Celebrations and meet-ups outside with loved ones either with one other household or within the "rule of six", including in private gardens.

This means that you should be allowed to get together with family and friends locally over the bank holiday weekend. 

Will we have to follow social distancing measures and can we hug? 

Bournemouth Echo:

Social distancing will need to be adhered to and touching must be avoided (Alamy/PA).

Unfortunately as it stands you will not be able to hug anyone who doesn't live in your household. 

Social distancing measures must still be maintained and you have to avoid touching.

If you can't stay 2m away, you can stay '1m plus' apart - the 'plus' means doing something else to limit exposure where possible, like wearing a face covering.

Can we travel out of the county to visit loved ones?

We are still waiting for clarification from the central government regarding their 'stay local' message and what constitutes as 'local'.

However, the government website states that people should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes.

The current guidelines state that when meeting another person this should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary.

Can people visit from outside of Dorset? 

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, portfolio holder for tourism, leisure and culture, said: "The livelihoods of many local residents rely on this visitor economy but we have to hold on a bit longer before we can start to welcome outside people to our area and we will only be putting the welcome mat out once we have had the guidance to say it is safe to do so.

“We know that some residents will feel concerned about this year’s busy season and it’s important to mention that the council has been working with partners to put in a place a much greater state of readiness in terms of resources and facilities for the summer.”

Dorset Police and has declined to comment at the present time and have said that they will be publishing their approach to visitors from outside of the county on 29 March. 

READ MORE: Fines if you travel to Dorset without a valid reason

Dorset Police are currently issuing fines to anyone visiting the area without a valid reason - using things like number plate recognition to determine where people have travelled from. 

Bournemouth Echo:

Image - Lulworth Estate

A group of people travelled all the way from Coventry to Durdle Door on January 9, just days after the third national lockdown began. Dorset Police said travelling more than 170 miles for "exercise" was "completely unacceptable". 

​​More than 40 motorists were turned away from Lulworth Estate the weekend before Easter last year.  An estate ranger claimed most of the motorists came from London, but also Oxford, Brighton, Taunton and locally Dorchester, Poole and Bournemouth.

Can I book a holiday abroad for Easter? 

The government currently states that foreign travel will continue to be prohibited throughout spring, other than for a small number of permitted reasons.

Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.