Lockdown rules have eased across much of the UK today, with millions now allowed to enjoy indoor hospitality, entertainment and social events for the first time in months.
New rules on international travel have also come into force today, with a ban on non-essential travel being replaced with a traffic light system involving testing and quarantine measures.
The easements of restrictions in England comes ahead of 21 June, the date at which the government is hoping to remove all legal coronavirus restrictions. Some concerns over the easing of restrictions have though been raised in recent days due to the Indian variant of COVID-19, which is present in the UK and thought to be highly transmissible.
As restrictions ease, people are being urged to exert caution and use common sense around regained freedoms. Speaking about the easing of restrictions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said;
“Everyone must play their part by getting tested twice a week, coming forward for your vaccine when called, and remembering hands, face, space and fresh air.
“I urge everyone to be cautious and take responsibility when enjoying new freedoms today in order to keep the virus at bay.”
From today in England, people can meet indoors subject to the rule of six and in groups of up to 30 outdoors. Indoor hospitality, museums, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, sports stadiums, hotels and a number of similar venues can also all reopen. Hugging will also be permitted, subject to personal choice.
Similar easements are also taking place in Scotland, though not in Glasgow and Moray when there have been spikes in cases.
In Wales, indoor hospitality can reopen along with most indoor entertainment, but rules banning indoor socialising in private households still remain in place.