What is allowed? New lockdown rules explained

The Government has made a number of changes to lockdown rules, including seeing family at home and i

The Government has made a number of changes to lockdown rules, including seeing family at home and in public Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

On July 4 there are major changes to how you are allowed to see loved ones during lockdown.

Friends, family and couples can now be reunited indoors, but are advised to maintain a distance of a

Friends, family and couples can now be reunited indoors, but are advised to maintain a distance of at least one metre to reduce the spread of coronavirus Picture: GETTY - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The changes announced by Boris Johnson on June 23 gives several industries 10 days to prepare to reopen under starkly different conditions to those they closed under – social distancing, hand sanitiser and visors are all expected to be commonplace in public places from now on.

But there are more complicated changes to households meeting indoors and outside.

What are the rules at the moment?

Until July 3 you can meet up to six people from any number of households, in public or a private garden, as long as you remain two meters apart.

You cannot meet indoors and you should only enter another household if you need to use the bathroom.

Those currently shielding should only spend time outside with those from their household or one person from another household, ideally the same person each time.

Most Read

This is currently government legislation and breaking these rules can result in a fine from police.

MORE: Every change to lockdown you will see on July 4

What will the rules be from July 4?

You will now be allowed to have two households gather indoors, with different households keeping at least one metre apart.

You can meet different households, but no more than two households should meet at once.

You can gather at home or meet at hotels, campsites and other accommodation that has been given the green light to open in July. You can also stay overnight at houses or accommodation.

For those shielding, from July 6 you can meet in a group of up to six people outdoors, and from August 1 you no longer need to shield.

All of these measures are in addition to the support bubbles introduced for single-person households earlier in June.

However, from July 4 all of the information from the government is advisory, and Mr Johnson has urged the public to use their “common sense” and take caution in situations where it is difficult to follow the guidelines.

Victoria Shannon told her story and her partner’s in April, living apart as she worked as a touring stage manager and he trained to become an RAF mechanic.

She says they have both taken care to minimise social contact so they could be together as soon as they were told it was allowed – but now that the government measures were advisory she sees no need to keep socially distant from her partner in her own home, provided they kept their distance from others as well.

“I’ve not seen any other human apart from who I live with for four months, so I won’t be sticking to the one-metre rule,” she said.

“I’ve not been in contact with anyone but my parents. He hasn’t either, apart from the people in his room who he has been in lockdown with.

“I don’t think couples will be sticking to the one-metre rule at all.

“It’s been so long since we’ve been able to see our partners.”

Like many couples and families, Miss Shannon and her partner have been going through hypothetical scenarios and trying to rationalise when being reunited would be safe.

Their circumstances mean they can be together without putting other people at potential risk, but she says they were prepared to stay apart if it was going to be unsafe.

She added: “Myself and my partner knew we wanted to see each other when Boris first mentioned the social bubbles.

“He is always away from his parents so he doesn’t mind not seeing them.

“He made his mind up that he was ready to bubble with me and I was okay with that. My house isn’t a busy one, even before lockdown.

“We’re both living in areas that have a low population. If one of us was coming from a city, we definitely of had a different conversation.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter