Despite fears the Indian variant of the coronavirus would compromise the UK government's roadmap out of lockdown, today—17 May—marks the first day of the third phase before we are granted full freedom next month.
Updates on social distancing restrictions
As of today, we will now be able to have outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people. Groups of six from different households or an unlimited amount of people from two separate households will be allowed to meet indoors.
Permission has also been given for sleepovers to be had provided they respect the rule of six or two households. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the government has said that hugging close friends and family members from outside your household will be allowed.
Indoor hospitality will also resume meaning that you can now sit at a pub or restaurant with as many as six people from different households or an unlimited amount of people from two separate households. Venues will not require customers to order a substantial meal to serve alcoholic drinks nor will a curfew be put into place.
However, customers will not be able to stand at the bar to eat, drink or order meaning that people must remain seated at all times and going to bathrooms will require one to wear a mask.
Cinemas, theatres, museums and indoor children's play areas will all reopen but social distancing and face covering guidelines must continue to be respected. Concert halls, conference centres and sports stadia will all reopen as well.
University students in England will be able to return to in-person learning but will have to get tested twice a week. Weddings will be limited to a maximum number of thirty people and the same can be applied to other types of significant life events such as bar mitzvahs and christenings. Funerals, on the other hand, will have no limit of the number of mourners that can attend the gathering.
Finally, perhaps the most anticipated restriction to be lifted is the possibility of going on international holidays. As confirmed last week, traveling will be permitted quarantine-free in green-listed countries.
Those countries found in the amber list will require travellers to self-isolate for 10 days upon returning home with a mandatory PCR test to be taken on days two and eight as well as a lateral flow test before the return flight.
Red-listed countries are still technically allowed to be visited if need be but travellers will have to stay in a government-approved quarantine hotel for 11 nights when returning home estimated to cost £1,750.