On Monday at 5pm, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to take centre stage at a press conference to confirm the third phase of the lockdown lifting, which was initially proposed in February.
The third phase is expected to begin on the 17th of May, and while there has been no confirmation from Downing Street as yet, Johnson has stated that he can’t see any reason why the plans should be altered.
The announcement comes as the country has hit another considerable coronavirus vaccine milestone, with one-third of UK adults now having received their second dose. Johnson took to Twitter to make the announcement:
One third of adults in the UK have now had their second dose of the Covid vaccine, a testament to the extraordinary efforts of NHS staff and volunteers. Thank you to everyone who has made this happen.
What lockdown measures can we expect to be lifted?
Thanks to the initial roadmap as well as government announcements and updates, we these are the lockdown measures that we can expect to see lifted from the 17th of May:
Bars and restaurants to finally serve indoors
Hospitality venues are expected to resume indoor service from the 17th of May. The rule of six will still apply indoors in bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes, and these venues will be table service only. However, no substantial meals will need to be ordered with alcohol.
Family and friends from different bubbles will hopefully be allowed to once again enjoy physical contact from the 17th. This will be the first time since March 2020 that people from other bubbles can enjoy a hug from a loved one.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove initially revealed to the Telegraph that plans to reintroduce hugging was definitely in the cards for the third stage of the lockdown release. He told the BBC:
Friendly contact - intimate contact - between friends and family is something we want to see restored.
Other social distancing rules, such as those in public venues, will remain in place until at least the 21st of June.
Indoor mixing and overnight stays permitted
All those that have been longing to renter the dating world or see their friends will be happy to know that from the 17th, indoor household mixing and overnight stays are expected to be permitted.
Those belonging to different households and bubbles will finally be able to meet indoors, provided they follow the rule of six or are no more than two households. It’s also likely that advice on social distancing indoors and adequate ventilation will remain in place for safety reasons.
Gatherings of up to 30 people allowed outdoors
The PM is also expected to announce that the rule of six for outdoor gatherings will finally be lifted at phase three.
To replace this rule, there will be a new legal limit of 30 people allowed at most outdoor gatherings, with the exception of some organised events.
Holidays and travel permitted
Bothdomestic and international holidays are likely to be resumed in the third stage of lockdown lifting.
At the moment, only self-contained domestic tourism is permitted for people who are in the same bubble. Soon, it is expected that people will be allowed to travel domestically with people outside their bubble and stay at the likes of hotels, B&Bs, campgrounds, hostels and other tourist venues.
Even better, and perhaps the most anticipated lockdown lifting measure, the ban on international holidays will soon be scrapped. Instead, a traffic light system will be taking its place, with Brits expected to quarantine either at home or in a managed quarantine facility upon returning from amber and red light countries.
Only a handful of countries so far have been given the green light, and many of these countries still expect tourists to isolate upon entry, further complicating travel plans. However, travel restrictions are will most likely continue to ease in the following months.
No limit on funeral attendance
From the 17th of May, the 30 person cap on funerals will also be removed. The limit was initially proposed for stage four of the roadmap, but it has since been brought forward.
Now, venues will have the opportunity to decide how many people they can safely host while still adhering to social distancing rules. The new restrictions will apply to indoor and outdoor services, but wakes will still be limited to 15 people.
Larger events to slowly restart
Larger events such as sports games will also be able to slowly restart from the 17th with the following restrictions in place:
- Outdoor venues will be allowed a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full, whichever is lower
- The largest outdoor seated venues will have a limit of 10,000 people or half-full, whichever is lower
- Indoor events will be allowed a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full, whichever is lower.
Some large scale events have recently taken place without the need for social distancing. These events have been part of a pilot scheme in which attendees needed to provide a negative coronavirus test.
Saunas and steam rooms to reopen
Gyms and spas were allowed to reopen during phase two of the lockdown roadmap, but saunas and steam rooms were still off-limits. Now, saunas, steam rooms and indoor fitness classes will be permitted to reopen.
Outdoor entertainment to resume
Outdoor entertainment such as theatres, cinemas are also expected to reopen during the third stage, as will indoor museums, cinemas and children’s play areas. However, some safety measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing may still be required for safety reasons.