England’s lockdown easing: What can I do from today?

29 March 2021, 10:43 | Updated: 29 March 2021, 10:45

Restrictions have eased in England, allowing the return of social gatherings and group sport.
Restrictions have eased in England, allowing the return of social gatherings and group sport. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Friends and relatives can meet in groups now England’s "stay at home" message has been dropped.

For many, this week will mark the first time they’ve seen loved ones they don’t live with, but their reunion will still be subject to where they do it and limits to how many people gather. Outdoor sports can also resume from today.

It will also be possible to head out for a day trip with good weather expected this week – here’s what you can and can’t do now restrictions have eased.

Can I meet my friends and family in the park, and how many of us can see each other?

The latest easing of lockdown allows you to meet five other people, with the rule of six reintroduced for outdoor gatherings.

All six people can come from different households, so family members and friends who live separately can meet, though social distancing should be observed.

Two households can also meet with no limit to how many attend.

Read more: Groups of six can meet and outdoor sport resumes as England's lockdown eases

You can meet up with friends at the beach to take advantage of good weather, subject to limits on the gathering.
You can meet up with friends at the beach to take advantage of good weather, subject to limits on the gathering. Picture: PA

Can we meet at home?

You can’t meet inside a home – the eased restrictions on gatherings only apply to outdoor meetings.

This means you can let them round for a couple of drinks in the garden but restrictions won’t allow you to move the socialising indoors if it starts to rain.

Households in social bubbles can continue to meet indoors as before.

How far away can I meet people?

The Government is now urging people to "stay local" instead of at home – but has confirmed there is no limit to a day trip's distance, meaning for example that Londoners can go for a day out at the beach.

However, you must not stay overnight with someone you don’t live with unless a legal exemption applies, so round trips that can’t be completed on the same day should be avoided.

The Government recommends not making any unnecessary trips and to try and walk or cycle when possible.

Can I hug my friends and family when we finally meet?

No. Despite the return of legal group socialising, the Government continues to ask people to keep up social distancing.

This means your long-awaited catch-up with friends and relatives should still take place at a two metre distance, or at a metre combined with the use of face coverings and other precautions if you can’t keep that far away.

Read more: Golfers greet easing of lockdown by teeing off a minute after midnight

Can we take advantage of the good weather at the beach?

It is possible to go back to the beach, and meet up with people there.

The easing of lockdown comes just ahead of possible 24C temperatures in South East England on Tuesday, and it will be legal to enjoy it with friends or family by the sea.

Can I go abroad now?

International holidays are banned as the Government tries to prevent new coronavirus cases and variants from being imported.

Travellers leaving for abroad must have a reasonable excuse to do so.

Can I play sport with friends?

Formally organised sports or licensed physical activities are permitted again, with any number of people allowed to be involved.

These have to be organised by a business, charity or public body and put on with precautions.

Otherwise, exercise rules apply in the same way as a gathering – if you’re having an informal kickabout, it has to be with a maximum of a group of six or any number of people from two households.