Couple and friends living apart will be able to meet in parks with social distancing

11 May 2020, 09:37

Couples and friends will be able to meet up in parks, it has been confirmed
Couples and friends will be able to meet up in parks, it has been confirmed. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Couples and friends living apart will be able to meet up in parks in England for the first time in almost eight weeks.

Under new lockdown rules, couples, friends and relatives who have been apart for almost two months will be able to see each other in person, provided they stay two metres apart at all times.

The new measure, in place from Wednesday, was initially unclear, as Boris Johnson indicated in his speech that sunbathing and socialising in parks could still only be done with members of the same household.

However, a Government official said on Monday that as long as a two-metre distance is maintained, people will be allowed to sunbathe or chat with just one other person from a different household.

The official said: "You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports, but only with members of your own household."

Boris Johnson made the announcement on Sunday
Boris Johnson made the announcement on Sunday. Picture: PA

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Mr Johnson had previously warned people that if friends outside of a household asked to meet up, they should refuse.

In his address to the nation at the start of the lockdown on March 23, Mr Johnson said: "You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say no.

"You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home."

The day after the lockdown was introduced, the PM's spokesman insisted the "rules are clear" when asked about couples who did not live together.

He said: "When you are out of the house, you should only do so with members of your own household or if it is for work reasons."

However, in his speech last night Mr Johnson said in addition to being able to leave home as many times as they wish for exercise or to sunbathe in parks, people in England would also be able to drive to other destinations.

In addition, people will now be allowed to go out for exercise more than once a day.

People can undertake “unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise”, and sunbathe or drive to destinations for exercise.

Sports including angling, swimming in lakes and rivers, tennis and golf will also be allowed, but only within household groups.