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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to reveal plans to reopen indoor hospitality venues, a return of hugs, and new rules for international travel as the next stage in the easing of lockdown approaches.
The Prime Minister is expected to unveil the next few steps of the UK's roadmap back to normality on the evening of Monday, May 10, 2021 at 5pm.
The new rules will come into effect on May 17 – while government sources have previously stated they expect almost all restrictions to be fully removed by June 21 following the successful first step of Covid-19 restriction easing that began in April.
Complete plans of how things will change from May 17 are yet to be confirmed but it is expected that families and close ones will be able to finally hug each other once again from that date forth, reports MirrorOnline.
Read on for the top 11 predictions of expected changes anticipated to come into effect from Mid May.
Hugs are allowed
For many, the familiar feel of a physical embrace may be a distant one, following more than a year of being told we must all keep two meters apart.
But from May 17, it is expected family, friends and lovers from different bubbles will be allowed to hug each other once again.
With more than half the UK population now vaccinated against Covid-19, the Prime Minister has said members of the public can use their common sense when it comes to hugging.
However, it doesn’t quite mean we can all start hugging strangers down the pub, as broader social distancing rules are expected to stay in place until June 21.
Overnight stays permitted
The new rules are expected to say people from different bubbles can now meet up indoors for the first time this year.
Groups of up to six or people from two households will be allowed to meet indoors at each other’s houses.
While the new rule will also extend to overnight stays, meaning friends and families will be able to meet up to a full 24 hours.
It is expected that health experts will encourage house gatherings to be sensible in terms of social distancing, cleaning and keeping windows open to allow adequate ventilation.
Pubs, cafes and restaurants can open indoors
Brave Brits battled the elements on April 12 when pubs reopened their services for the first time in 2021 to serve drinks and food outdoors.
Torrential rain, high winds and snow did not put punters off as they lined up and took seats in freezing conditions to enjoy good grub and stiff drinks.
From May 17 it is expected pubs and restaurants will finally be allowed to reopen indoors – just as the weather begins to improve.
The Rule of Six will apply for bookings, while pubs will be table service only – however the “substantial meal” rule of last year will not be returning, leaving pub-goers free to grab a pint without the need of ordering a scotch egg.
Gatherings of 30 permitted outdoors
At present, gatherings outdoors are limited to groups of just six people – but this rule is expected to be relaxed as the roadmap out of lockdown eases.
It is anticipated that groups will be limited to a maximum of 30 people – without a limit on the number of households.
Organised outdoor events are expected to resume as a result, while gatherings in parks will likely be embraced by the public.
Domestic holidays can resume
With a traffic light system limiting where in the world holiday makers will soon be allowed to travel without the need to quarantine upon return complicating vacation plans, many may instead opt to enjoy a staycation this summer.
And the new roadmap point will permit Brits to book holidays across England from mid-May.
With the restrictions between households mixing and meeting indoors lifted it will make plans to stay elsewhere in the UK possible to arrange for the first time this year.
While hotels, B&Bs, hostels and other holiday venues will be able to reopen their doors and welcome visitors to stay.
Foreign travel can resume
At present it is illegal to leave the UK without a valid reason – but this travel ban is about to be lifted, allowing international holidays and trips to restart.
A traffic light system has already been unveiled showing Green, Amber and Red destinations that the public can visit.
Those returning from ‘Green’ destinations will be able to resume life in the UK without the need to quarantine.
However, Amber and Red destinations will cause travel complications, and extra money.
Upon return from ‘Amber’ destinations, UK residents will be required to fork out hundreds of pounds for cover tests – while returning from ‘Red’ destinations will add potentially thousands to a trip as travellers will be forced to quarantine at a government approved hotel for at least 11 days and to pay for Covid tests while there.
It is expected the rules and restrictions on travel will change quickly once we reach June and July.
Restrictions on funeral attendees removed
With the Covid-19 pandemic claiming over 128,000 lives in the UK alone, the past year has been devastating for many as loved ones have been claimed by the deadly virus.
A cruel necessity of lockdown meant families and friends had not been allowed to gather in groups to mourn those that were lost as strict limits on funeral attendees were put in place.
Now the government has changed rules to mean the cap on the number of people who can attend a funeral are removed completely.
Initially this move wasn’t expected to come into force until the fuller easing of restrictions in June, but the government pulled the move forward to begin this month.
A return of larger events
Clubs, theatres and sports venues have had their doors shut for most of the past year, but this will all change this month.
Outdoor venues are expected to be allowed to reopen from mid-month with capacities of 4,000, or for the venue to be half-full, whichever is lower.
While the biggest outdoor venues will be allowed to welcome crowds of 10,000, or quarter-full, depending which is fewer, allowing crowds to space out.
While indoor events will also be allowed to resume – with capacities of 1,000 or half-full, depending which is less.
Earlier this month, a trial event was held in Liverpool which included larger crowds and no social distancing, but this was part of a pilot scheme which involved all attendees requiring negative Covid tests to enter.
Saunas and steam rooms reopen
Gym goers who love to sweat that little bit extra following a workout were disappointed to find spas remaining firmly shut last month when gyms reopened.
But these restrictions will be lifted from mid-May allowing those who love to sweat through the heat to get back into the hot spaces.
Similar relaxation spaces found within other spas are also expected to be allowed to reopen.
Cinemas, museums and children’t play areas reopen
Further outdoor and indoor spaces will finally be allowed to reopen following months of being dark.
Both outdoor and indoor cinemas will be welcoming back audiences as will outdoor theatres.
Other indoor entertainment spaces like galleries, museums and children’s play areas will also be back in business.
However, new health and safety measures might be implemented to help keep all attendees safe – such as wearing masks while inside.
Changes to wedding rules
Many happy couples have been forced to postpone their big days due to previous lockdowns, but the changes from mid-May could improve things.
A maximum limit of 30 attendees will remain in place until at least June 21, but exclusive friends and family members will be able to watch happy couples swap vows from May 17.
Weddings will also now be allowed to take place within indoor venues for the first time this year.
And other celebrations such as bar mitzvahs and christenings will also be allowed to resume from this date.
- Boris Johnson
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