After a year of social distancing, sourdough and #stayathome orders, we’re all ready to start seeing our loved ones. Thankfully, the government has announced its roadmap out of lockdown, which promises a summer filled with pub gardens, cinema trips and BBQs in the park.
As we all begin to anticipate going out again, we thought we’d share the ‘roadmap to socialising’. We’ll cover when you’ll be able to leave the house for non-essential reasons, go for a night out or simply just see friends and family again.
England’s roadmap out of lockdown
What’s already allowed?
At the moment, you’re allowed to meet one person from another household for recreational purposes, e.g. a picnic, coffee on a bench or a chat in the park.
For the majority of people, the rules are still pretty restrictive in terms of socialising. The biggest changes will be over the next couple of months!
- You can now meet up to five other people in an outdoor setting, or alternatively one other household. This means you can invite a few friends around for a backyard BBQ or join another family for an outdoor Easter egg hunt (weather permitting).
- Say goodbye to the stay at home rule! The government’s new advice will be to stay local as much as possible. Holidays in other parts of the UK are still a no-go at this point.
- If you’re missing outdoor sports, don’t worry – from this point onwards, outdoor sports facilities such as golf courses and tennis courts will be allowed to reopen. You can head back to Sunday football again as formally organised outdoor sports are able to restart.
- Small weddings can take place, with a limit of six people able to attend – which means you’ll still have to wait a while until the wedding discos are back.
12th April (at the earliest)
- The day we’ve all been waiting for – hairdressers and salons reopen! Say goodbye to the lockdown hair before hitting the town for some (non-essential) retail therapy.
- Pints and pizza in pub gardens – you can now go for a meal/drink at a restaurant or pub, provided you’re seated outdoors. Make the most of it and get yourself down to the local – after months of closures, these small businesses deserve our support!
- You can finally reschedule your well-deserved pamper day as gyms and spas are allowed to reopen. Facials, massages and nail appointments are all back on the cards – so why not give yourself a treat (you deserve it).
- Need to escape the house for a while? You can now go for a break anywhere in England with your household, just make sure to book self-contained accommodation (AirBnB is your friend).
17th May (at the earliest)
- Bad weather isn’t going to get in the way of date night anymore, as indoor hospitality, pubs and restaurants are allowed to reopen.
- Want to host your own dinner party (or attend someone else’s)? You can now do so, as six people or two households are allowed to socialise indoors.
- Looking for a slightly bigger get-together? You can meet outdoors in groups of up to 30(!) now, so take the opportunity to celebrate all of those lockdown birthdays you’ve missed a second time.
- Things start opening up a lot more in terms of outdoor and indoor entertainment – theatres, museums and cinemas are all able to reopen. A night at the movies with a big bag of popcorn never seemed so good.
- If you are planning on heading off on a holiday this summer, you can now take a trip to anywhere in England and get the classic hotel experience. B&Bs will also be opening their doors as this summer looks set to be a big one for domestic travel.
- Weddings, christenings and other life events can now have up to 30 attendees, resembling something closer to our pre-Covid gatherings.
21st June (at the earliest)
- In this final stage of the roadmap, all legal limits on social contact will be removed – meaning that you can attend or host events of any size!
- Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen, live performances can resume and our social lives will look much more like they did in 2019.
Tests for easing restrictions
The dates mentioned are flexible and depend on the country passing four key tests. Once eased, however, the plan is to not go back to more restrictions – the government intends this to be a ‘one-way road to freedom’. The four tests are:
- The vaccination programme continuing to go to plan
- A reduction in the number of Covid-related fatalities or hospitalisations
- No risk of a surge in hospital admissions
- No new coronavirus variants which could fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions (e.g. a more contagious variant)
While you plan ahead for a summer filled with fun, friends and food (that you didn’t cook yourself), make sure to download the Bubble app to find trusted sitters near you. The app helps parents find childcare at short notice, so that you can take time for yourself while knowing the kids are being looked after by someone brilliant at home.