Mirror Online: LONDON, England – After weeks of meeting friends in the pouring rain and sweeping winds, sitting around a table indoors with people you don’t live with will finally be allowed in England from tomorrow.
It means doing things we once took for granted will be permitted again, with cinemas allowed to open and non-essential travel no longer illegal.
But anyone headed overseas is well advised to check quarantine rules where they are going – with just 12 countries and territories on the Government’s ‘green’ list, meaning quarantining is not compulsory on their return.
Despite recent experiments which saw thousands pack into nightclubs and live music returning at the O2 Arena, there will still be plenty of things which are not allowed.
Here is a rundown of what will be permitted from tomorrow – and what you’ll have to wait a bit longer for.
Pubs and restaurants allowed to serve people indoors
This will be welcomed by the hospitality sector, which has been devastated by the pandemic.
In some parts of the country pubs and restaurants have not been able to serve people indoors for more than six months, and punters will be eager to get back in the warm.
Since April 12 businesses have been allowed to reopen if they have an outdoor space, but it’s coincided with a pretty dreary time weather-wise.
It won’t be entirely back to normal, however. People will still have to order, eat and drink while seated.
Cinemas, sports events and concerts
The past year has also been a torrid time for cinemas, theatres and live music venues.
Although elite sport has been allowed to continue, teams have spent most of the past year competing in empty stadiums with fans watching at home with fake crowd noise.
That’s all about to change from tomorrow – although again it won’t be business as usual for a while yet.
Indoor performances with a capacity of 1,000 or half full, whichever is lower, will also be allowed.
Outdoor entertainment venues will also be allowed to host performances for crowds of up to 4,000 or half full, whichever is lower.
Visiting friends and family indoors and outside
For the last few weeks it’s been legal to meet outdoors in groups of six.
The good news is that for outdoor gatherings, the top number is rising to 30, meaning larger groups can get together legally for the first time in months.
As far as visiting friends and families inside their homes goes, six is still the magic number.
You can only have more if there’s just two households getting together – for example two families of four meeting indoors.
Travelling outside the UK
Having urged caution about summer holidays, the Government has confirmed that non-essential foreign travel will be allowed from tomorrow.
Up to this point people have faced hefty fines if they attempt to go abroad on holiday.
But before you dig out your passport and book a couple of weeks in the sun, it’s worth familiarising yourself with the traffic light system.
Just 12 countries and territories are included on the ‘green’ list – meaning you don’t need to quarantine when you return them.
Portugal, Israel, Iceland, the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar are among them.
However many of these countries have their own quarantine rules, while three – Singapore, Australia and New Zealand – won’t let you in at all.
People who arrive from red list countries, where Covid rates are highest and where mutant strains are prevalent, are required to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days at their own expense.
Those coming back from amber countries are required to quarantine at home and face fines if they are found to have disobeyed.
With a third of adults having both vaccine doses, people will instead be told they can choose whether to socially distance from people they are close to.
This means people can choose to hug, kiss or shake hands with friends or relatives in the park or in a home.
People do not have to take a lateral flow test before hugging, but it’s one way of reducing the spread of the disease. Likewise people could meet outdoors or with the windows open, or wear masks.
There is no limit to the amount of time you can spend with people in a day, or the time spent in a pub or restaurant.
Weddings and funerals
One of the most heartbreaking impacts of the restrictions has been the limit on people allowed to attend funerals.
These remain in place, with a limit of 30 allowed at funerals and weddings.
“Significant life events” such as bar mitzvahs and Christenings will also have a 30-person limit in place.
It is hoped that these restrictions can be lifted in June, as long as nothing else goes wrong.
What remains banned
Sadly you’ll have to wait a bit longer until you can go clubbing or pack into a concert.
As highlighted above entertainment and sporting events have been given the green light to resume, but with some restrictions in place.
It’ll be a while longer before you can stand at a bar or gather indoors in groups larger than six.
At the moment Stage 4 of the Government’s plan is pencilled in for June 21 – the day Boris Johnson says he hopes all legal restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of Covid can be lifted.
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