Two households could soon be allowed to mingle outdoors under Boris Johnson’s latest lockdown plan, according to reports.
Presently, people in England can only meet up with one other person from a different household outside.
And coronavirus rules forbid such meetings unless they are for an essential purpose such as exercise.
But the Prime Minister is set to relax those rules by Easter and allow two entire households to meet in outdoor settings such as parks – or potentially even gardens – an insider told The Sun.
It would be the first step toward a return to the outdoors gatherings allowed at the end of the first lockdown and the tail of last summer.
What are you looking forward to doing? Share your views in the comments below…
According to the report, the new rule could take effect by April 2 in the first step in a five-month long ‘road to recovery’ blueprint, the newspaper reports.
The change to Covid rules is set to be announced on Monday when Mr Johnson outlines his roadmap for exiting lockdown, a source told the outlet.
The Telegraph reported similar speculation, with a source adding the two-metre social distancing rules could be reinstated and remain in place for “months”.
The plan to open schools on March 8 is currently the only date the government has set in stone.
But Monday’s announcement will see more key dates announced.
Service industries like some beauty and hairdressing are to be told they will have to wait until late April to reopen, it is claimed.
And closer-contact procedures like waxing and nail services could have to wait even longer, the report speculated.
Gyms and hospitality would also be likely to have to wait until April, it continued.
It comes as the UK’s vaccination first dose figures near the 17million mark, and the virus ‘R’ rate remains below one for a second week in a row.
Households were only allowed to mix indoors briefly and in limited numbers last summer.
The so-called ‘rule of six’ at times applied to outdoor meetings, as rules tightened again going into the second wave of the pandemic.
At various points, six people from different households could meet in pub beer gardens, public spaces such as parks and beaches, or in private gardens.
The PM has warned he would be ‘cautious’ in his phased reopening of the economy, as millions endured months of bans limiting meet-ups with friends and family.
Last week he told the nation he could not guarantee England’s third lockdown would be it last, due to the threat posed by mutant variants of the virus.
Britain’s lockdown ‘architect’ Neil Ferguson today said vaccine effectiveness and the rate at which infection, deaths and hospital cases were declining across the country appeared promising.
He said he thought the current lockdown should be lifted in stages, adding: “I am encouraged by the cautious approach being taken, an incremental approach which I think will be adopted, namely relax one thing and see what the impact is, relax again.
“And it still may well be that by the end of May, we’re in a very different country than we are today.”