What does the easing of restrictions mean for me?

Find out more about who you can spend time with and when
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From 18th May, the Government has begun to lift some of the restrictions in place to tackle the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The easing of restrictions is now in Phase 1, and will continue through five phases, with the last phase (Phase 5) beginning on the 10th of August. The phases will be brought in on a conditional basis, meaning that if the number of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) cases begins to rise again, some restrictions may be brought back into place again. It is important that during this time we still follow all Government advice on social distancing and continue to practice proper handwashing.

What am I allowed to do from the 18th of May?

From 18th May, you are now allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to four people. The people you can socialise with outdoors do not have to live with you. You are allowed to meet each other within 5km of where you live but you must still practice social distancing, this means that you stay at least two metres away from one another.

It is recommended that when in public places you wear a face mask to help protect both yourself and those around you.

What shops are open again from the 18th of May?

The following shops will be open again with social distancing measures in place: 

  • hardware stores
  • builders merchants and those providing essential supplies and tools for gardening
  • farming and agriculture such as garden centres and farmers markets
  • Opticians/Optometrists/Outlets providing hearing test services, selling hearing aids and appliances
  • retailers involved in the sale, supply and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles and related facilities (for example, tyre sales and repairs)
  • office products and services; electrical, IT and phone sales, repair and maintenance services for home. This does not include homeware stores

Other facilities that can open on 18th of May:

  • outdoor public amenities and tourism sites, such as car parks, beaches and mountain walks may reopen
  • outdoor public sports amenities, like playing pitches, tennis courts and golf courses may reopen
  • outdoor sports and fitness activities in groups of no more than four are permitted within 5km of your home and providing there is no physical contact
  • school and college buildings may reopen for teachers and lecturers to facilitate remote learning

Is there Government guidance on having sex during the easing of restrictions?

The Government has not released specific guidelines on when people will be allowed to have sex with those outside their household. Currently, people still have to maintain social distancing until at least the final phase of the lifting of restrictions, which begins on the 10th of August. This means that no one is allowed to have sex with people other than those they live with during that time.

Feeling overwhelmed or anxious?

If you feel overwhelmed by the current situation and need someone to talk to, our anonymous, 24 hour text line is always open. You’re worth talking about and we’re here to listen and support you.

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