All the UK lockdown changes from 17 May - including meeting indoors and overnight stays

May will see further sectors of the economy allowed to open up (Photo: Getty Images)
May will see further sectors of the economy allowed to open up (Photo: Getty Images)
May will see further sectors of the economy allowed to open up (Photo: Getty Images)

Falling Covid cases and the success of the vaccination rollout so far has allowed lockdown restrictions to be gradually eased across the UK.

Rules currently allow people to gather in small groups outdoors, as well as enjoy outdoor dining at pubs, cafes and restaurants, although a lot of measures are still in place.

However, this month will see further sectors of the economy allowed to open up, as well as the possible resumption of international travel.

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming changes across the UK.

What will change in England from 17 May?

The UK Government has confirmed that Step 3 of the lockdown roadmap in England will take place no earlier than 17 May, following a further review of the data and four key tests.

Providing it is safe to go ahead with the next stage as planned, all of the most high-risk sectors will be allowed to reopen, with Covid-secure guidance in place.

This will include the reopening of:

  • indoor hospitality, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcoholic drinks, and no curfew. The requirement to order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’) will remain
  • remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas
  • indoor entertainment, such as museums, cinemas and children’s play areas
  • remaining accommodation, such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs
  • adult indoor group sports and exercise classes
  • some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events. Controlled indoor events of up to 1,000 people, or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity (whichever is lower) will be allowed, as will outdoor events with a capacity of either 4,000 or 50 per cent capacity. 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.
  • international travel, subject to review

Weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events, including wakes, can also go ahead from this date with up to 30 attendees.

A broader range of stand-alone life events will also be permitted, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted, but gatherings of more than 30 people outdoors will remain illegal.

Indoors, people will be able to meet socially in a group of 6, or with one other household. The Government has said it may be possible to go further than this at this stage, but it will depend on the data.

What will change in Scotland from 17 May?

From 17 May, all areas of Scotland should move from Level 3 to Level 2 restrictions.

At Level 2, you can meet socially in groups of up to:

  • 4 adults from 2 households in private homes – and can stay overnight
  • 6 adults from 3 households in an indoor public place, such as a café, pub or restaurant
  • 8 adults from 8 households outdoors

All hospitality venues will be allowed to open until:

  • 10.30pm indoors - alcohol will be permitted, and customers will have to book two hour time slots
  • outdoors - local licensing laws apply

All organised sport and exercise activity can go ahead, except adult indoor contact sports.

Cinemas, theatres, concert halls, music venues, comedy clubs, amusement arcades, and bingo halls can open, subject to capacity constraints.

Outdoor and indoor events can resume, with a maximum capacity of 100 indoors, 500 in outdoor seated venues, and 250 in outdoor free-standing venues, subject to physical distancing capacity requirements.

Universities and colleges can return to a more blended model of learning.

Adult organised non-professional performance arts can resume outdoors.

What will change in Wales from 17 May?

From 17 May in Wales, it is hoped that all hospitality venues will be able to reopen for indoor service.

Indoor tourism accommodation, including hotels, hostels and B&B’s, should also reopen from this date.

Indoor attractions, including cinemas, bowling alleys, theatres and stately homes, will be able to welcome visitors back.

What will change in Northern Ireland in May?

The next phase of easing lockdown restrictions in Northern Ireland is due to take place a little later than the rest of the UK, with changes due to be implemented from 24 May at the earliest.

The Northern Ireland Executive has given this as a provisional date when more restrictions might be lifted, including:

  • Reopening of indoor hospitality, including pubs and hotels
  • Resumption of indoor group exercise
  • Some indoor mixing of households in private accommodation
  • Reopening of B&Bs and hotels
  • Restarting of wedding receptions and funeral wakes
  • Reopening of indoor visitor attractions (for instance, museums or skating rinks)
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