8 differences between April 12 and May 17 lockdown rules

MANY of us are now enjoying our newfound freedoms after coronavirus restrictions eased on April 12.

Customers have flocked to beer gardens to sip on a long-awaited pint and have started reconnecting with friends after enduring months of lockdown.

Since hair salons and barbers were given the green light to reopen, clients have rushed to have their wild manes tamed and lockdown hair disasters fixed by professionals.

Gyms have also reopened to fitness fanatics who are eager to kickstart their training again or shift some of those pesky lockdown pounds.

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From May 17 at the earliest, more freedoms could be unlocked across England – providing infections don’t spiral out of control.

But what could change if the country is allowed to progress to step three of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown?

For those of you who are wondering what the difference is between the April 12 and May 17 rules, here’s a reminder.

1 – Pubs, bars, and restaurants

On April 12, pubs and restaurants were allowed to reopen, but can only be serving food or drink outdoors.

From May 17 however, customers should be allowed to drink indoors again – so you can ditch your coats and hot water bottles.

Customers still won’t need a substantial meal with their booze and there is no curfew, due to the confusion both rules previously caused.

Punters will have to keep ordering from their table and stay seated – enabling social distancing.

2 – Meeting family and friends

Currently, the ‘rule of six’ is in force, meaning people can meet up in groups of six outdoors – or two households, whichever is greater.

However, you are not allowed to socialise indoors unless you are part of the same household or bubble.

This could all change by May 17, subject to a review, if the Government eases limits on social contact and may see hugging allowed again for the first time in months.

If given the go ahead, the ‘rule of six’ or two households could apply indoors and 30 people could meet outdoors.

3 – Shops, entertainment and hairdressers

Non-essential shops, hairdressers, barbers and other businesses were allowed to reopen from April 12.

Indoor entertainment, such as museums, cinemas and children’s play areas should open once again from May 17.

Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas, will also be permitted to open to customers.

4 – Indoor sport

Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and spas, were given the green to light open their doors.

However, this didn’t include saunas and steam rooms, which are due to open in step three – no earlier than May 17.

Next month, indoor group sports and exercise classes could resume, meaning you can get a wiggle on again at your Zumba class or imagine you’re back in a nightclub with clubbercise.

5 – Travelling

International travel is currently banned and holidaymakers could be slapped with a £5,000 fine if they don’t have a reasonable excuse for leaving the country.

Some excuses include working abroad, studying and moving, selling or renting property.

However, holidaymakers who are itching to jet off for some sun may be allowed to travel from May 17 – subject to a review.

As the roadmap stands, the Government will decide if international travel will be back on the cards next month after scrutinising the Global Travel Taskforce’s recommendations.

This aims to resume “international travel as soon as possible while still managing the risk from imported cases and Variants of Concern”, according to a Government document.

6 – Overnight stays

Currently, overnight stays are allowed away from home.

The rules stress people who are staying in self-contained accommodation must not share bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens or entrances to the building with another household in a bid to stop coronavirus spreading.

The roadmap states from May 17, remaining accommodation such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs can welcome back customers.

7 – Weddings

Weddings and receptions can go ahead with up to 15 attendees in places that are allowed to open, which started on April 12.

Although not something to look forward to, bereavements have become a bit easier for families, as wakes will be allowed with 15 people and funerals can be held with up to 30 people – once again enabling people to say proper goodbyes with some loved ones in attendance.

From May 17, weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events, including wakes can proceed with up to 30 attendees.

Other “stand-alone life events” can also go ahead at this stage, such bar mitzvahs and christenings.

8 – Large events

Event pilots kicked off this month in a bid to see if larger events can be hosted without cases surging.

From May 17, controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted.

Outdoor events with a capacity of either 50 per cent or 4,000 people, whichever is lower, will also be allowed.

The Government will also make a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25 per cent of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.

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