Outdoor socialising is back this month, and here’s a quick clarifier on the rules.
England’s roadmap out of lockdown has provided plenty of hope for a return to normality in the coming months, and the first significant step arrives on Monday, March 29 with the return of outdoor socialising. Though we’ve been permitted to meet up with one person from outside our household in a social setting since March 8, from Monday we’ll be allowed to meet as two households or a group of six people (in a return of the Rule of Six), so long as these meetings take place outdoors. At last!
The lifting of these restrictions form Step 1 of the government’s four-step roadmap out of lockdown, and allow us to reunite with friends and family ahead of the Easter bank holiday. These six-people/two-household gatherings can take place in public parks and outdoor spaces, or in private gardens, but we’re still being told not to meet up indoors (that will follow in Step 3, no earlier than May 17).
The outdoor socialising rule isn’t the only one being eased on March 29, as outdoor sport is also permitted to resume on this date. That means tennis courts, football pitches, basketball courts and more can reopen today – including London’s full line-up of open air swimming pools. This will also allow formally-organised grassroots sport (i.e. your local football team) to resume playing.
Finally, the last restriction to be eased on March 29 is the ‘Stay Home’ order. We’ll be able to go a little further afield to reunite with others, as the requirement to stay at home is dropped. However, this does not mean the end of lockdown restrictions; we’re still being asked to stay local whenever possible, and overnight stays will not resume until April 12 (for holiday lets by individuals or one household) and May 17 (for multiple households/groups, and for stays at hotels, hostels, and any other places with shared indoor facilities). International travel is still forbidden for non-essential purposes, and this will last until at least May 17.
Getting these freedoms back is, to be sure, a wonderful thing – but it’s important to remember that with only half the population vaccinated, there’s still a burden on all of us to follow restrictions and keep driving the infection rate down. And then, it’s onto an unforgettable summer!
Also published on Medium.