PM set to announce next step out of lockdown from 17th May

Boris Johnson is set to announce plans to ease lockdown restrictions from 17th May as England continues on its roadmap out of lockdown and the Covid alert level moves from 4 to 3.

Changes from Monday 17th May in England..

The rules expected to be introduced from 17th May onwards are outlined below:

  • People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors
  • Six people or two households can meet indoors
  • Overnight stays allowed with people not in your household or bubble
  • Advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging, will be updated
  • Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can restart
  • Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres and cinemas can open
  • Performances and large events can restart, with limits on audience numbers
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can open
  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen
  • Holidays abroad to green list countries allowed
  • Up to 30 people can attend weddings and more than 30 can attend funerals

What’s changed?

Addition of information for Step 3 of the roadmap. This includes:

  • serving customers indoors
  • updated social contact rules (gatherings of up to 30 people are permitted outdoors; gatherings of up to 6 people or 2 households of any size are permitted indoors)
  • relaxation of rules around live performances, business events and soft play areas

Will everything be back to normal?

Business and activities

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will reopen – and as in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.

Other indoor locations to open up in Step 3 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).


Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Review of social distancing

Finally, before Step 4 begins, the government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission. This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted. This will also inform guidance on working from home – which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete.

What are the rules from 21st June in England?

  • It’s hoped all legal limits on social contact will be removed
  • Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen

What are the plans across the UK?

There are some things you can do anywhere – although exact rules may differ between nations:

  • All shops and retail outlets can open
  • Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants can all serve food and drink outside
  • Hairdressers, nail salons and other close contact services can open (appointment only in Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • Gyms and swimming pools are open for individual exercise
  • You can travel freely between England, Scotland and Wales (but not Northern Ireland)
  • You can stay in holiday cottages with members of your own household or bubble
  • Driving lessons and tests have resumed
  • Communal worship is allowed
  • You can socialise with people from other households outdoors (numbers vary between nations)
  • Most outdoor visitor attractions are able to open
  • Weddings can take place (rules on guests – and receptions – vary)
  • In England, Scotland and Wales, care home residents can have regular visits from two named people (rules differ in Northern Ireland)

The announcement from the Prime Minister is expected to be broadcast tonight (10.05.21) at 5pm. For further information on reopening, contact us on 0300 124 6866 or check out our Coronavirus Reopening Hub. For more information on the roadmap out of lockdown, visit

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