THE bank holiday weekend is finally upon us, but we're not out of the water just yet. 

With pubs, bars and non-essential shops reopening earlier this month, it's no surprise what we will all be getting up to this Early May Bank Holiday. 

However, though restrictions have eased we are still only in the second stage of Boris Johnson's 'roadmap' out of lockdown and a number of rules still need to be followed. 

READ MORE: Bank holiday: Punters told to 'bring a coat' to the pubs

READ MORE: Shops and restaurants empty in Bournemouth town centre

Here are all of the Covid rules you still have to follow this bank holiday weekend:

What is currently open?

From Monday, 12 April,  shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens were allowed to reopen.

Bournemouth Echo:

You can go to the pub but you have to sit outside (PA)

Most outdoor attractions, such as zoos and theme parks were also allowed to open like Monkey World and Adventure Wonderland. 

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools also reopened and numbers for weddings (15) and funerals (30) increased.

Do we still have to social distance?

Yes - social distancing is still very important.

Bournemouth Echo:

You still need to maintain social distancing (PA).

You should stay two metres apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible, or one metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) if you cannot stay two metres apart.

Do we still wear face masks and when?

It is the law to wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops and places of worship, and on public transport, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.

Can my friends come inside if it's raining?


You must not meet indoors with anybody you do not live with, unless you have formed a support bubble with them (if you are eligible), or another legal exemption applies.

What are the rules for meeting people outside?

You can meet up outdoors with friends and family you do not live with, either:

Bournemouth Echo:

People enjoying Bournemouth beach last month (Echo)

- in a group of up to 6 from any number of households (children of all ages count towards the limit of 6).

- in a group of any size from up to two households (each household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible).

This includes at the pub, park, on a bench or in your back garden.

But what if I've had the vaccine?

To help protect yourself and your friends, family, and community you should continue to follow all of the rules, even if you are vaccinated.

The vaccines have been shown to reduce the likelihood of severe illness in most people.

Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so those who have received the vaccine should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection.

The government still does not know by how much the vaccine stops COVID-19 from spreading. Even if you have been vaccinated, you could still spread the virus to others.

Do I need to have a Covid test to go to the pub?

The answer is quite straightforward, no. 

Bournemouth Echo:

Rapid testing kit (PA)

However, the government are advising people to take two lateral flow tests a week to make sure you don't have coronavirus and to reduce the risk to those around you.

Lateral flow tests are available for free from pharmacies, testing sites, employers, schools, colleges and universities.

Does anyone have to shield this weekend?

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are no longer advised to shield. However, you should continue to follow government guidance for people who are more at risk and continue to take extra precautions.

When will restrictions next ease and what will we be allowed to do? 

The next key date for England is May 17. From no earlier than then, most social contact rules outside will be lifted – although gatherings of more than 30 will remain illegal.

Indoors, the rule of six or two households will apply although the Government has said it will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.

Limited crowds will also be allowed at sporting events.

Foreign holidays could be permitted for people living in England from May 17 under the road map for easing pandemic restrictions.

The Government confirmed this week that coronavirus passports will be available “as soon as possible”.

All remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted from June 21, allowing for larger events to go ahead and nightclubs to reopen.