Two households of up to six people can now meet outside, as foreclosure restrictions are relaxed in England (Photo by Hollie Adams / Getty Images)
The British will be able to meet outside in groups of no more than six, as the first step of easing lockdown restrictions in England takes effect today.
Many friends and families who have not seen each other for months will now be able to meet in the parks and gardens, for the first time in months.
Outdoor sports facilities may also reopen today, with leading sports figures welcoming the move.
“Everyone must continue to respect the rules”
Boris Johnson stressed that “we must remain cautious, with cases on the rise across Europe and new variants threatening the rollout of our vaccine” as warm weather should accompany relaxation.
“Despite today’s easements, everyone must continue to play by the rules, remember the hands, the face, the space and come forward for a vaccine when called,” the Prime Minister added. .
He is expected to urge the public to take personal responsibility for abiding by the restrictions as he holds a press conference in Downing Street.
Restrictions have been relaxed, with official figures showing more than 30 million people in the UK have received a first dose of the vaccine, which is around 57% of all adults.
Mr Johnson said he hopes the easing ‘will kickstart a great British sport summer’ as sports stars have joined forces with the government to encourage a return to physical activity.
While greater outdoor freedoms are now allowed, the government still advises people to work from home where possible and minimize the number of trips they make.
The next stop on the roadmap to ease the lockdown of England is April 12, which is set aside for the reopening of non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality, including pubs and restaurants.
‘Hands, face, space and fresh air’
A new slogan was also unveiled to highlight the importance of ventilation in reducing the spread of the virus: “Hands, face, space and fresh air”.
A public information campaign warns of the dangers of gathering indoors, with a psychologist giving advice on how to deal with friends and family who suggest breaking the rules, saying people can needing to be “firm” and give “gentle reminders” over the distance.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said progress in vaccine deployment “must be protected,” adding that “when you meet other people, do it outside and keep a safe distance.”
England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty added: “It is very clear that outdoor spaces are safer than indoors. It is important to remember this when we move on to the next phase. ”
Mr Johnson has warned that an increase in cases could be seen as parts of Europe hit with a third wave of infections, but hopes the vaccine rollout will wipe out hospitalizations and deaths.
The Prime Minister has sought to lose weight after his own hospitalization with Covid-19 and the government is now calling on the public to participate in a fitness campaign, with children recommended to aim for one hour of physical activity per day, and adults for at least 150 minutes.
Which sports facilities are allowed to reopen?
Football and cricket grounds, tennis and basketball courts, outdoor pools, golf courses and sailing clubs are now free to reopen after months of closure.
Organized team sports can also resume outdoors, meaning grassroots competitions can take place before the Easter break without the need for social distancing.
England World Cup-winning cricket captain Eoin Morgan said: “With summer – and the cricket season – just around the corner, there’s no better time for everyone. world, young and old alike, to get back to having fun by going out, being active and playing. sport. ”
British number one tennis player Johanna Konta said: “I am so happy that the British are now able to come back to the court and enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of tennis.”
England Rugby Union backer Kyle Sinckler added: “I can’t wait to see you come out, and all the kids back there for some fun. ”
The fitness campaign comes after the latest figures showed more than 150,000 deaths involving coronavirus have been recorded in the UK.
What about the rest of the UK?
In Wales, the order to ‘stay local’ ended on Saturday and people were allowed to stay in self-contained holiday homes.
The stay-at-home order in Scotland is due to end on Friday, while in Northern Ireland up to six people, or two households, can meet outside from Thursday.