Boris Johnson announces further lockdown easing in England

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that England has met the requirements to move to stage three of its lockdown easing plan on May 17.

Further to this, the coronavirus alert level has been reduced from level four, meaning that there is a high or rising level of transmission of the virus, to level three, meaning that COVID-19 is in general circulation.

The PM said: “Today we are taking a step towards that moment when we learn to live responsibly with Covid.

“When we cease eventually to rely on detailed government edicts and make our own decisions – based on the best scientific advice – about how to protect our families and those around us.”

He added: “Today we are announcing the single biggest step on our roadmap and it will allow us to do many of the things we’ve yearned to do for a long time.

“So let’s protect these gains by continuing to exercise caution and common sense.”

Here is a look at what will be allowed from May 17.


  • Six people or two households can meet indoors
  • Overnight stays are allowed
  • Outdoors, groups of up to 30 people can meet
  • Up to 30 people are allowed to attend weddings
  • There is no legal limit on how many people can attend a funeral, that is to be determined by the venue
  • Up to 30 people can attend a support group or parent and child group
  • Care home residents are allowed up to five visitors and will have more freedom for visits out of the care home

Hospitality and business:

  • Bars, pubs and restaurants will be able to open indoors – table service only
  • Cinemas, children’s play areas, museums and other indoor entertainment can open
  • Theatres, conference centres, sports stadiums and concert halls can reopen
  • Adult sport and exercise classes can resume indoors
  • Steam rooms and saunas can reopen
  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can fully reopen


  • Face coverings are no longer recommended for pupils in secondary schools
  • All remaining university students can return to in-person teaching


  • Foreign travel can resume, using the traffic light system that has been previously announced

Personal responsibility:

Boris Johnson asked people to exercise caution when seeing friends and family. Social distancing with close friends and family will be a matter for the individuals involved to decide.

People can also engage in close contact such as hugging, however, caution is required. They should think about who they are hugging, if they are fully, partially, or not vaccinated.

Professor Cath Noakes explains that hugs should be short and not face to face.

However, social distancing will still be required in social care, medical, retail, hospitality and business settings.

People are also asked to socially distance themselves from others who are not family or friends.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Parsons

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