Summary

On February 22, the prime minister set out a roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England.

From May 17, step 3 will be in place.

Details of the new rules, and how they will affect Bolton residents, have been updated.

What you can and cannot do under COVID-19 restrictions

As of May 17, the following will re-open:

  • Indoor entertainment and attractions such as:
    • Cinemas
    • Theatres
    • Concert halls
    • Bowling alleys
    • Casinos
    • Amusement arcades
    • Museums
    • Children’s indoor play areas
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as:
    • Restaurants
    • Pubs
    • Bars
    • Cafes
  • All holiday accommodation including hotels and B&Bs (this can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households)

In addition:

  • Gathering limits will be eased. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings will be limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • New guidance on meeting friends and family will emphasise personal responsibility rather than government rules. Instead of instructing you to stay 2m apart from anyone you don’t live with, you will be encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some people than others and in some settings and circumstances, there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family.
  • People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
  • Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes). This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Funeral attendance will no longer be limited to 30 people, but will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events will be increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people.
  • The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors will change, allowing up to five named visitors (two at any one time), provided visitors test negative for COVID-19.
  • All higher education students will be able to access in-person teaching.
  • Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits will increase to 30 people (not including under 5s)
  • There will no longer be a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. There will be a traffic light system for international travel, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.

The “stay at home” rule is no longer in place, but many restrictions still apply:

If you’re in an area where the new COVID-19 variant is spreading

This new variant is sometimes referred to as the variant first identified in India. It is spreading fastest in:

The new COVID-19 variant spreads more easily from person to person. To help stop the spread, you should take particular caution when meeting anyone outside your household or support bubble.

In the areas listed above, wherever possible, you should try to:

  • meet outside rather than inside where possible
  • keep 2 metres apart from people that you don’t live with (unless you have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family you don’t live with
  • minimise travel in and out of affected areas

You should also:

  • Get tested twice a week for free and isolate if you are positive
  • Continue to work from home if you can
  • Get vaccinated when you are offered it, and encourage others to do so as well
  • Refer to local health advice for your area (linked above)

You should get tested for COVID-19. This includes:

You should self-isolate immediately if you have symptoms or a positive test result for COVID-19. There is financial support if you’re off work because of coronavirus.

Hands. Face. Space. Ventilate.

Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it.

Remember - ‘Hands. Face. Space.Ventilate’

  • hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
  • face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings).
  • opening windows and doors at home is the simplest way of improving ventilation for most people.

Financial support

Wherever you live, you may be able to get financial help: