As the clock struck midnight, hoards of residents flocked to their local drinking holes to have their first sip of freedom. But beer gardens aren’t the only exciting thing about lockdown easing as hairdressers, gyms and non-essential stores are now allowed to reopen as well. Here’s everything you’re allowed to do from April 12th.
Of course, being able to down a cold one outside of the comfort of your home is the high point of the day. From midnight last night, 40% of England’s bars and pubs were allowed to reopen, with 15 million pints expected to have been guzzled through the wee hours of the morning.
However, those dining in at pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to sit outdoors, with indoor service suspended for at least another month. People attending these venues will also be required to come in groups no bigger than six and sign in with the COVID-19 Track and Trace app by scanning the QR code provided at each establishment.
On the plus side, patrons will no longer be required to purchase a ‘substantial meal’ with their drinks, and a curfew will not be enforced.
Salons and barbers
Those in desperate need of a haircut will be happy to know that hairdressers, barbers, beauty salons, nail salons and tattoo parlours will all be open from today. Unfortunately, the Government has advised that appointments must be kept short, meaning any lengthy treatments may still not be on offer.
Businesses have also been advised to keep windows and doors open to assist ventilation, while both customers and stylists will be required to wear masks.
Gyms and Pools
Leisure centres will also be able to reopen their doors this morning, but members will only be able to use the gym and swimming pool services as classes will not resume until the 17th of May. England residents have also been cautioned against meeting friends inside the gym for sports unless they are already members of their household or bubble.
Those missing a hit of retail therapy will be flocking to the stores as non-essential retail will once again be welcoming in shoppers. Those who wish to indulge in a little spree will have to remember to wear their masks indoors and have been urged to shop alone or with a household member.
Shoppers will also need to adhere to any coronavirus safety measures in stores, such as one-way traffic, hand sanitiser and social distancing.
After your midnight pint of freedom, why not follow the day up with a celebratory trip to a theme park? Theme parks, zoo’s and outdoor attractions such as gardens and castles will be allowed to reopen from the 12th of April. Once again, those who wish to attend these attractions have been cautioned to wear their PPE and practise social distancing.
Travel to Wales
While we may have a little while to go before international travel is back in the cards, English residents looking for some time away are free to cross the border into Wales and vice versa. However, anyone staying overnight will need to have self-contained accommodation. This can be achieved by booking a cottage or campsite or even taking a caravan.
International travel between England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, on the other hand, remains banned unless an acceptable reason has been provided.
Perhaps all this time in lockdown was what you needed to finally learn to drive. If so, you’d be in luck as driving lessons are now allowed to resume provided that learners wear masks inside the vehicle. Theory tests will also be continuing, but practical tests have been set back until the 22nd of April.
Indoor activities for children and parents will also be allowed to resume today in groups of up to 15 people, not including those under five.
Libraries and community centres will be open from today, with all residents required to wear face masks and attend with only members of their household or bubble.
Retirement home residents will be allowed to have up to two visitors on their lists from today. Visitors will be required to wear their PPE, take COVID tests regularly and may visit either together or individually.
Weddings and funerals
From the 12th of April, up to 15 people will be allowed to attend weddings while 30 guests may attend funerals. Up to 15 people will also be able to attend wakes and receptions, but these events are required to be sit-down meals in an outdoor venue and will not be permitted in private residences or gardens.