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Coronavirus lockdown: Can family and friends living separately meet up?
11 May 2020, 15:25
The government has published new clarification on who can meet up under new lockdown rules. But who can people meet with and for how long?
For the first time since 23 March, people can now meet a person from outside their household - subject to strict rules.
You may not meet with more than one person from outside your household in an outdoor setting, and must stay at least 6ft away from one another.
Can I meet up with other people under new lockdown rules?
The guidance says you can meet up with "one person from outside your household", but only in an outside setting.
You must remain compliant with social distancing guidelines and remain two metres from them at all times.
So for example, you can see a friend or partner in a park, but are not allowed closer than 2m to each other.
The document adds: "You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household – this means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household."
It also says you can drive as far as you want to an outside space - as long as you do not go from England into another country that has different rules, such as Scotland and Wales.
READ MORE: The new rules of lockdown explained
How long can I remain outside under the new lockdown guidelines?
The new rules say you can now spent an unlimited time outdoors - and even play sports such as tennis and golf.
The document states: "People can now also spend time outdoors subject to: not meeting up with any more than one person from outside your household; continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres (6ft) away from people outside your household."
People may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish. For example, this would include angling and tennis. You will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.
You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household – this means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household."
When can I see my family again?
Many people are asking when they can see their parents or children again, as the new rules say they can only meet one person from outside their household.
The government is investigating how they can increase social contact for Step Two of the lockdown easing - aiming to start on 1st June.
The document states: "The Government has asked SAGE to examine whether, when and how it can safely change the regulations to allow people to expand their household group to include one other household in the same exclusive group.
"The intention of this change would be to allow those who are isolated some more social contact. It would also support some families to return to work by, for example, allowing two households to share childcare.
"This could be based on the New Zealand model of household "bubbles" where a single "bubble" is the people you live with. As in New Zealand, the rationale behind keeping household groups small is to limit the number of social contacts people have and, in particular, to limit the risk of inter-household transmissions.
"In addition, the Government is also examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups to better facilitate small weddings.
"Over the coming weeks, the Government will engage on the nature and timing of the measures in this step, in order to consider the widest possible array of views on how best to balance the health, economic and social effects."