HUGGING, indoor gatherings and live stadium events have all been given the green light as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

The Prime Minister has announced that current lockdown restrictions will be eased as we enter stage three of the 'roadmap' out of lockdown next Monday, 17 May. 

A number of restrictions are being lifted including the number of people allowed to meet outside, indoor gatherings of up to six people will be allowed and social contact with loved ones will be allowed.

READ MORE: Live: Boris Johnson lockdown press conference at Downing St

The biggest easing of lockdown measures so far is designed to encourage people to take more personal responsibility for managing the risks posed by the virus.

The Prime Minister said: “This unlocking amounts to a very considerable step on the road map to normality and I am confident that we will be able to go further.”

Bournemouth Echo:

The latest move back to normality came as the UK’s Covid-19 alert level was downgraded by the chief medical officers.

What are the changes at a glimpse? 

From May 17:

  • People will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30.
  • People will be able to meet indoors in groups of six, or two households.
  • Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers indoors, although they will be limited to table service.
  • Cinemas, museums, theatres and concert halls will be allowed to reopen although there will be capacity limits on large events.
  • The “stay in the UK” restriction will lift and people will be able to travel to “green list” countries, such as Portugal although they are still being advised not to go to destinations on the amber list.
  • Up to 30 people will be allowed at weddings, although dancing will still not be allowed, and the cap on the number of mourners attending funerals will be lifted, in line with the safe capacity of the venue.
  • Secondary school pupils will no longer be told to wear face masks in class and communal areas.

What are the new rules on social contact?

Bournemouth Echo:

It will be your decision to hug and socially distance from loved ones (PA)

People will be given the choice on whether to remain two metres from family or friends, meaning they can once again hug and shake hands.

But the Government is urging people to remain “cautious” about the risks that come with close personal contact and told to keep in mind that some are more vulnerable to severe illness from the virus than others.

Wider social-distancing rules will remain in place in adult social care, medical, retail, hospitality and business settings.

Which outdoor activities will be allowed?

Bournemouth Echo:

Bournemouth beach - PA

As summer approaches, people in England will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people.

The Government’s road map advises people to “decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances” when arranging to meet.

How will the restrictions impact schools and universities? 

Face masks will no longer be required in secondary school classrooms in England.

From May 17, face coverings for pupils will no longer be recommended in classrooms, or in communal areas, in secondary schools and colleges in England amid declining infection rates.

All university students will be allowed to return to in-person classes from Monday, 17 May. 

What does this means for events and hospitality?

In addition to funerals, up to 30 people will be able to join together to celebrate weddings, receptions, wakes and religious ceremonies like bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Bournemouth Echo:

How lockdown will be lifted in the coming months (PA).

Theatres and indoor sporting arenas, with a maximum capacity of 1,000 people will return from 17 May.

Outdoor arenas will be able to host live events with a maximum number of 4,000 attendees, or for large outdoor seated venues where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000.

Is it safe to book foreign holidays?
Bournemouth Echo:

Holidaymakers boarding a flight at Bournemouth Airport 

The current ban on overseas holidays will lift on May 17 and Prime Minister has previously announced the green list countries Britons will be allowed to travel to without having to quarantine, providing they take one post-arrival test.

Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland and the Faroe Islands – plus several small remote islands which are British Overseas Territories are currently on this list.

READ MORE: Green list countries revealed and flights from Bournemouth

Within England, all remaining accommodation including hotels, hostels and B&Bs can re-open, with domestic overnight stays allowed in groups of up to 6 people or two households.

Mr Johnson remained clear in the fact that the coronavirus will remain with us for a substantial amount of time and that we now need to learn to live with it responsibly.

He said: “Today we are taking a step towards that moment when we learn to live responsibly with Covid, when we cease eventually to rely on detailed Government edicts and make our own decisions.”