Lockdown: PM confirms Covid restrictions to be lifted on 17 May - all you need to know

10 May 2021, 17:02 | Updated: 10 May 2021, 18:03

Boris Johnson confirmed the changes while speaking at the Downing Street press briefing
Boris Johnson confirmed the changes while speaking at the Downing Street press briefing. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Boris Johnson has confirmed the lockdown restrictions that will be lifted from 17 May, including the indoor reopening of pubs, resumption of international travel and return of hugging.

Speaking during the Downing Street coronavirus press briefing, the prime minister updated the nation on which measures will be lifted for Step Three of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.

His announcement came as the latest data revealed that infection rates are at their lowest level since September and deaths and hospitalisations are at their lowest level since last July.

It also follows the UK's four chief medical officers confirming on Monday that the country's Covid-19 alert level should be lowered from level four to level three, meaning transmission of the virus is no longer "high" or "rising exponentially".

WATCH AGAIN: PM confirms further easing of Covid restrictions

Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of the adult population have now received a Covid jab, with more than 17 million of those receiving both doses.

However, the PM also acknowledged that the easing of restrictions will continue to depend on four criteria: the successful vaccine rollout, decrease of hospitalisations and deaths, infection rates remaining low and new variants not overwhelming the country.

So what did Boris Johnson say in his Covid announcement? Which lockdown restrictions will be lifted on 17 May? And which measures will remain in place?

Indoor hospitality

From 17 May, people in England will be able to meet in pubs, bars and restaurants in groups of six or as two households, meaning no more requirement for only outdoor seating.

They will also be allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people.

All remaining accommodation, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs, can also reopen to the public.

Indoor entertainment

Cinemas, museums and children's play areas will be allowed to reopen from 17 May.

Theatres, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadia can all welcome back customers, although capacity limits will remain in place for larger events in these settings.

Weddings, funerals and other life events

Weddings, receptions and other life events will also be permitted from 17 May, so long as they are limited to 30 people.

The cap on the number of people allowed to attend funerals will also be lifted, in line with how many people can be safely accommodated in venues.

Up to 30 people will be able to attend a support group or parent and child group, with the limit not including children under five years old.

Indoor exercise

From next Monday, organised adult sport and exercise classes will be free to resume indoors.

Meanwhile, saunas and steam rooms may reopen as a welcome relief for gym-goers.

Care homes

Care home visiting will be eased further from 17 May, with residents able to have up to five named visitors and greater freedoms to make low-risk visits out of the home.

Education - schools and universities

Face coverings for pupils will no longer be recommended in classrooms or in communal areas in secondary schools and colleges.

However, twice-weekly home testing will remain in place to control infection rates.

From next Monday, all remaining university students will be free to return to in-person teaching and learning but are being encouraged to get tested twice a week upon return.

Socialising and social distancing

People will be free to exercise their own personal judgement in line with the risks of socialising. Individuals will be given the choice of whether to socially distance with close family and friends.

However, people will be urged to remain cautious about the risks that come with close personal contact such as hugging, as this remains a direct way of transmitting Covid-19.

Domestic overnight stays will be allowed in groups of up to six people or two households, while wider social distancing rules will remain in place in adult social care, medical, retail, hospitality and business settings.

International travel

The 'Stay in the UK' restriction will be lifted on 17 May and people will be able to travel to green list countries, although they must follow the restrictions which remain in place. 

Mr Johnson continued to urge caution and stressed that people must remain vigilant to unexpected changes in the data and the spread of new coronavirus variants.

Which measures will remain in place?

  • Nightclubs to remain closed until at least 21 June
  • Audience restrictions remain for large live events (i.e football matches, festivals)
  • Some restrictions to remain on life events (i.e weddings, funerals)

At least five weeks after 17 May, and no earlier than 21 June, nightclubs and large events are also set to be permitted once again.

It follows pilots at a nightclub in Liverpool and the League Cup Final at Wembley, where 8,000 football fans were allowed to watch the game live in the stadium.

The 'work from home' message is also likely to be scrapped from this date.