In Depth

Barbers to pubs: as lockdown eases what’s allowed - and what isn’t?

Barbecues are back on the agenda but we’ll have to wait a little longer for a pint in the pub

Lockdown rules will be eased across the UK in the next few days, as the country continues a gradual return to normality after two months indoors.

“Grandparents who have had to rely on photographs or Skype calls to see their grandchildren growing up will finally be able to see them in the flesh again,” says The Telegraph, but they will “have to resist the temptation to hug or kiss them”.

Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, warned Britons that the new rules could lead to a resurgence in Covid-19 infections unless social distancing guidelines were followed.

“It is essential that people maintain two metres,” he said. “This risk has not gone away.”

What will be allowed - and when?

Barbecues and picnics

A plan to introduce social bubbles - in which two or more households could freely intermingle - has been “rejected in favour of a simpler approach, which will allow meetings with individuals from different households, as long as they take place outdoors”, says The Guardian.

From Monday, in England and Northern Ireland, groups of up to six people can meet anywhere outdoors, including gardens, patios and roof terraces, as long as people from different households remain two metres apart.

“Government sources have asked people to use ‘common sense’,” says The Telegraph, “and not to invite, for example, three groups of five to your house at different times on the same day.”

Going through a house to get to a garden or to use the toilet is allowed, but “indoor meetings are strictly prohibited”, the paper reports.

In Wales the rules are similar, but no-one is allowed to travel more than five miles from their home.

Scotland has a different set of rules. From today, up to eight people from two households are allowed to meet, but “First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said guests should not enter other people’s homes, for instance to use the toilet,” the BBC reports.

Days out

In England and Northern Ireland, there are no restrictions on day trips for exercise or sightseeing.

Two households could each travel separately to the same place and spend the day together, but “overnight stays are banned”, says The Telegraph. “Even camping in your friend’s garden is banned.”

All day trips remain off limits in Wales and Scotland, where people must stay close to home.

And holidays are banned throughout the UK. “Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay at another home for a holiday or other purpose is not allowed,” says the government website. “This includes visiting second homes.”

Playing sport

Across the UK, non-contact sports like fishing, bowls, outdoor swimming and canoeing are also allowed, but physical contact is prohibited. Kicking a ball in a park is allowed, but tackling another player is not.

The new rules mean that from Monday, “four-ball golf groupings and doubles matches in tennis are back on (though your doubles partner must live with you),” says The Telegraph.

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Going to the dentist

“Thousands of people complained of toothache and other problems during lockdown,” says The Guardian. From 8 June, those of them who live in England will be able to visit a dentist.

Patients may be required to wear masks and gloves in the waiting room and staff will be regularly tested for Covid-19. “We will arrange regular deep-cleanings of the entire surgery, and probably be including UV-light cleaners as well,” Alexandra Germain, a London dentist, told the BBC.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are yet to announce a reopening. Anyone in need of emergency dental treatment anywhere in the UK is advised to phone 111 for referral to an Urgent Dental Care hub.

Shopping

Garden centres, already open in the rest of the UK, can reopen in Scotland today.

In England only, outdoor retail areas such as markets and car showrooms will be allowed to open from Monday, and other non-essential shops are expected to join them in mid-June, as long as they can enforce social distancing and as long as the infection rate remains low.

Barbers and hairdressers

Nail salons, hairdressers, barbers and other businesses which involve close contact will not reopen until 4 July “at the very earliest”, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News. If the infection rate has not fallen further, we may have to wait even longer for a haircut.

Schools

Schools in England will start to reopen on Monday, when Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 return to the classroom.

However, “many primary schools will not be open to all eligible pupils on Monday morning”, said Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. “They will be phasing in these children over a period of time, while putting in place limits on class sizes and implementing other safety measures.”

If the infection rate remains low, Years 10 and 12 will spend at least some time in school from 15 June.

Scottish schools are scheduled to open on 11 August. Wales and Northern Ireland are yet to announce a plan.

Pubs, restaurants and places of worship

Activities involving large numbers of people gathering indoors - in cafes, restaurants and churches, for example - will remain off limits for at least another month.

In England, 4 July has been pencilled in for a post-lockdown trip to the pub, but venues such as nightclubs, “which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing, may still not be able to reopen safely at this point”, the government guidance warns.

Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not yet set out a timetable for reopening pubs.

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