ON April 12 Boris Johnson eased restrictions allowing pubs, hairdressers and non-essential shops to open for the first time in months.
Gyms, zoos, drive-in cinemas and beauty salons also reopened as the next milestone on Boris Johnson's roadmap to freedom was reached.
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There will be no changes to the rules for the bank holiday this weekend as the next stage on the roadmap of lockdown is set for May 17.
However, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the days off.
While Brits can drink in the outdoor areas of pubs and bars, social distancing must still be adhered to with pals only allowed to have pints within the Rule of Six.
Unlike with the rules last year, alfresco pubs and restaurants don't need to serve a substantial meal for alcohol to be sold.
And the 10pm curfew – which people were subject to in 2020 – has been scrapped.
Punters won't be able to stand up and drink by the bar – and will have to stay seated while in the pub.
It comes as…
- Areas of UK with ZERO daily Covid cases revealed as rates hit 'lowest level'
- Vaccine passports set to be ready for May 17 when foreign travel resumes for Brits, top minister says
- Lateral flow Covid tests could 'drive up infection rates' as lockdown eases
- Aggressive Covid variant tearing through Brazil 'spreads TWICE as fast' as UK told 'be on guard'
- Matt Hancock gets his first Covid vaccine from Professor Jonathan Van-Tam and says 'didn't hurt at all'
People must continue to keep their distance and stay away from people outside of their household or bubble, the PM urged.
Every pub-goer must check-in with the NHS Covid app to get a pint from April 12.
Under the rules, all punters must be contact-traced via the app or by giving their contact details when a group enters a pub or restaurant.
All drinkers must scan their NHS app when they go to a boozer, which means it'll be possible to tell them to book a test immediately if they sit near someone who has Covid.
Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to the Rule of Six or two households – which was a new freedom unlocked on March 29.
Brits aren't allowed to socialise indoors with anyone from a different household or with someone you haven't formed a support bubble with.
And in facilities such as hairdressers, beauty and nail salons, and indoor leisure like gyms and spas, people must continue to social distance.
What is open for the bank holiday weekend?
Boris Johnson allowed all non-essential retailers to reopen from April 12.
- Clothing shops
- Homeware shops
- Toy shops
- Vehicle showrooms (other than for rental)
- Betting shops
- Tobacco and vape shops
- Electronic goods shops
- Mobile phone shops
- Auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment)
- Market stalls selling non-essential goods
Other businesses that reopened include:
- Pubs (outdoor service only)
- Restaurants (outdoor service only)
- Gyms (indoor exercising – but no classes)
- Beauty salons
- Theme parks
- Drive-in cinemas
- Drive-in performances
- Community centres
A weekend getaway is now on the cards with new lockdown rules allowing Brits to travel across the UK for the first time since Christmas.
Holidays are permitted as long as the accommodation is self-catered and is for a single household.
On April 26, Scotland has moved from Level 4 to Level 3 of the Scottish Government’s five tiers of restrictions – meaning travel between Scotland, England and Wales are now permitted.
People living in England have been able to travel to Wales since April 12 but today’s announcement means people can freely go north of the border too.
Weddings can take place with government rules stating people from different households must abide by social distancing throughout ceremonies and receptions had sparked fears brides and grooms would not be able to enjoy many wedding day rituals.
Last month it was stated that celebrations for up to 15 people would be allowed from April 12 — but only in places of worship, public buildings or outdoor spaces.
Guests are also warned that they must maintain social distancing and only travel to and from the reception with their bubble or household.
Dancing is also banned at weddings – because of the increased risk of transmission of the virus.
And unkempt Brits can visit hairdressers and salons to indulge in some much needed TLC.
Indoor leisure centres – including gyms – are also open, while outdoor attractions like zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas can open their doors.
Overnight stays away from home with your household are also back on the cards, while driving tests can start up again for people keen to get their licence.
Elsewhere, the number of care home visitors has increased to two per resident.
Libraries and community centres will be open, with the roadmap saying: "All public spaces have important benefits that help create local attachments and sense of belonging to a community."
Meanwhile, the May Day bank holiday is set to be a mixed bag with showery conditions and temperatures well below the average seen in the past two weeks, the Met Office said.
The forecaster said the weekend will bring “a mixture of sunshine, showers, and a cold east to the northeasterly wind”.
They added: “Showers will be most frequent in the north and east, but could become quite widespread overland during the day.
“Some wintriness is probable over high ground of Scotland.”
Timeline for businesses reopening after lockdown
PRIME Minister Boris Johnson has outlined his roadmap for easing England out of lockdown.
Businesses will be allowed to reopen on the following dates, as long as the "four steps to freedom" are met. Here's what we know so far:
- Hospitality outdoors
- Self-catered staycations with one household
- Indoor hospitality
- Indoor exercise gyms
- Bingo halls
- Sports stadiums to reopen but capped to 10,000 fans
On May 17, Brits finally able to meet indoors after months of Covid restrictions.
This will see hotels, hostels and B&Bs allowed to once again start taking bookings.
Indoor entertainment and attractions are also expected to open up on May 17 with Brits finally able to head to the pub and sit inside.
Thirsty punters will also not have to buy a substantial meal when they grab a pint with the existing rule set to be dropped – while there will be no curfew.
However, things still won't be completely back to to normal for some months yet.
Mr Johnson has warned that loosening restrictions is based on "data, not dates" – and he today said: "We can't be complacent.
"We can see waves of sickness afflicting other countries, and we've seen how this story goes."
Four key tests must be passed for unlocking to continue – the continued vaccination of the population, that jabs are working, that infection rates are not threatening the NHS, and there are no threatening new strains of the bug.
It is hoped the country’s 54 million adults will be offered a jab by the end of July with the most vulnerable having received both vaccine doses by May.
The roadmap began when schools reopened on March 8.
On March 29, Brits were able to enjoy outdoor garden parties while following the rule of six or two household restriction.
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