New coronavirus lockdown rules: What changes have been made to Covid-19 restrictions?

29 May 2020, 05:54

The new restrictions will make it easier for small groups to meet
The new restrictions will make it easier for small groups to meet. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

With Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing a 'limited and cautious' easing to coronavirus lockdown measures in England, what are you allowed to do under the new measures? And when will lockdown be eased more?

The Government have announced significant changes to the coronavirus lockdown measures which were introduced on March 23 in order to combat the spread of the virus.

At a three-weekly review of restrictions, the Prime Minister announced the new rules, which come into effect from Monday.

Mr Johnson said: "These changes mean friends and family can start to meet their loved ones - perhaps seeing both parents at once, or both grandparents at once. I know that for many this will be a long-awaited and joyful moment."

But what does this mean for you, and how might it change your daily life? Here's everything we know so far.

Can I visit family and friends?

As of Monday, people in England will be able to gather outdoors in socially-distanced groups of six. This means that groups can meet in parks and private gardens for chats and barbecues.

Outdoor gatherings will also be allowed in Wales from Monday, however, there is no limit on the number of people who are allowed to meet.

READ MORE: Prime Minister hints pubs could reopen before July as social-distancing reviewed

Scottish citizens do not have to wait until Monday to visit family and friends, with restrictions being eased from Friday to allow gatherings of up to eight people.

Meanwhile, groups of up to six people are already allowed to gather outdoors in Northern Ireland after some restrictions were lifted earlier this month.

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How far am I allowed to travel?

There are no mileage limits set for how far you are allowed to drive to visit family and friends in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, but the general advice is to remain in your local area as much as possible.

However, people in Wales will still not be allowed to travel more than five miles from their home for any reason except work or to purchase essentials.

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Can I stay overnight?

Staying overnight at someone else's home will still not be allowed anywhere in the UK, while even going indoors for any other reason than to access a garden or use the bathroom is prohibited.

However Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has advised that if the distance travelled to meet someone means that you have to use their bathroom, then "perhaps you shouldn't be doing it".

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What else will I be allowed to do under the new measures?

In England, Monday's lockdown easing will signal the reopening of schools to allow students in nurseries, early-years settings, and Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to return to class.

Some shops are also set to reopen, with outdoor retail and car showrooms able to resume operations.

And what about elsewhere in the UK?

Scotland's easing will enable people to visit garden centres and play some sports where social distancing can easily be maintained, such as golf and tennis.

However, schools will remain closed until at least August, when a new blended learning model is scheduled to begin. Pubs, cinemas, hairdressers, libraries, and non-essential shops will also remain closed.

In Wales, rubbish tips and garden centres are set to reopen while people will be able to engage in unlimited local exercise with people from within their own household.

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When will lockdown be eased more?

Boris Johnson has flagged that more restrictions will be eased on June 15, beginning with the reopening of other non-essential retail shops such as fashion or homeware retail.

Other businesses, such as pubs, hairdressers and cinemas will have to wait until July before they can reopen, the Government has previously said.

What about in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

In Scotland, there is no set timeline as for when more measures might be lifted. The government's lockdown roadmap stipulates that a number of conditions must be met before any further action is taken, including evidence that the country's Covid-19 transmission is successfully under control.

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford is expected to announce on Friday that further plans on lifting restrictions will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Pending the country's rate of transmission remaining below one, a host of further restrictions are set to be eased in Northern Ireland on June 8, including the reopening of outdoor sports facilities, car showrooms and some non-essential retail stores.

Outdoor weddings with a maximum of 10 people are also set to be allowed and hotels will be able to start taking forward bookings at their own risk.