The legal ban on all overseas travel except essential ones has also ended, although travelers to destinations other than a small number of destinations will need to be quarantined on their return.
Overall, this represents the first real breath of freedom for many in England since the declaration of the third national lockout in early January. Although restaurants and pubs may have served food and drink outdoors for several weeks, the weather has been unusually cold and often rainy, leaving many diners and drinkers to shiver in the damp beer gardens.
As the government fights hard not to have to reverse the changes introduced on Monday, doubts are growing over its ability to take the next step on the roadmap. This change, scheduled for June 21, would remove almost all remaining restrictions.
But with a surge of cases in some communities, including Bolton, the government refuses to rule out any measures, including possibly imposing new restrictions on specific Covid-19 hotspots.
“We must be humble in the face of this virus,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Parliament on Monday, adding that there were now 86 areas with five or more cases of the variant with the highest transmission rate. “Poses a real risk. If the overall number of cases, at 2,323, remains low, it is multiplying rapidly.