COVID-19: What can you do from 17 May when restrictions are relaxed in England?

Restrictions in England were eased on 17th May with changes to the rules on indoor and outdoor mixing, and indoor hospitality reopening.

Despite concerns over the Indian variant of coronavirus becoming dominant in some parts of the country, the prime minister is pushing ahead with a third stage of easing national lockdown measures.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News it was "appropriate to continue down the roadmap" while the impact of the India variant was being closely studied.

But he warned people to be "cautious and careful" as restrictions are lifted.

From 17 May, these are the new rules


• People can meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people

• Indoors, groups of six or a larger group of two households can meet

• Hospitality can open indoors - but diners and drinkers must remain seated

• People have the choice as to whether to socially distance with close family and friends

• People can hug those close to them but they should remain cautious as this remains a way of transmitting COVID

• Wider social distancing rules remain in place in adult social care, medical, retail, hospitality and business settings

• Thirty people can attend a support group, or parent and child group (children under five years old do not count)

• Care home residents can have up to five named visitors and greater freedoms to make low-risk visits

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• Indoor entertainment can open, including cinemas (with unoccupied seats between parties), museums, and children's play areas

• Outdoor large performances and sporting events will have a maximum capacity of 4,000 people or must only be half full, whichever is lower

• Theatres, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadia can reopen - with capacity limits

• Large indoor performances and sporting events with a capacity of 1,000 people are allowed

• Bigger sports stadiums are allowed 10,000 people or can only be a quarter full, whichever is lower

• Testing is to be used to support these openings

• Organised adult sport and exercise classes can resume indoors

• Saunas and steam rooms can open


The UK's roadmap out of lockdown: Dates for every nation

The UK's roadmap out of lockdown: Dates for every nation



• Weddings, receptions, and other life events can take place with up to 30 people - but no guests can dance

• Funerals can take place with the number of people safely allowed at that specific venue


• Face coverings no longer needed by secondary school and college pupils in classrooms or communal areas

• Twice-weekly home testing for pupils remains

• All remaining university students can return to in-person teaching, with twice-weekly testing


• Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen fully

• Staycations can take place in groups of up to six people or two households

• Travel restrictions are lifted under a traffic light system - but people should only travel to green list countries, or amber if they really have to.


• Green List

Travellers returning from a country on that list do not need to quarantine, and are only required to take one post-arrival test.

It consists of Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, plus several small remote islands that are British Overseas Territories.

However, entry to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and the Faroe Islands is severely restricted.

Portugal is welcoming UK tourists who have had a recent negative test, have recovered from the virus and therefore have antibodies, or had both doses of a vaccine.

Gibraltar does not require UK visitors to be tested or vaccinated, whereas Israel will initially reopen its border on 23 May only to groups of foreign tourists who have had both jabs.

• Amber List

That covers the most popular UK holiday destinations such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said "you should not be travelling to these places right now".

Those who go against that guidance must take two post-arrival tests.

They are also required to self-isolate at home for 10 days, although they can reduce that time if they take an additional negative test on day-five.

• Red List

Among the countries on the red list are Turkey, the Maldives, Brazil, India, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

Those returning from a red list country must stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 nights at a cost of £1,750.

Wales is also relaxing international travel restrictions from today, aligned with England's traffic light system. However, the Welsh government's concerns about reimporting the virus mean it is advising people not to travel abroad during 2021.

Scotland will permit foreign holidays from 24 May.

Non-essential travel from Northern Ireland to the Common Travel Area - which consists of the UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man - will also be allowed from from 24 May.

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