Even since the beginning of June, we have seen lots of changes about what we can and can’t do under lockdown.
Things we can do under lockdown now include the idea of creating a social bubble with one member outside of your own household, a rule that was implemented shortly after it was made illegal for two people or more people who didn’t live together to be “present together in the same place” indoors.
As UK governments are negotiating our way out of lockdown every three weeks, it can seem like the rules change a lot – and often. With clauses and some misleading information being spread about the lockdown rules, it’s important to know what you can do in lockdown now.
So what’s the latest thing you’re allowed to do under lockdown? And what will happen next?
What can I do in lockdown now?
Create a social bubble
The most exciting part of the latest measures in lifting the lockdown was the announcement that from the weekend, those living alone would be able to see a household outside of their own. Otherwise known as a social bubble, this new rule allows single-person households to visit another one – even if that household has more than one person it in – as long as they agree not to see anyone else.
For separated couples and families, this has come as a huge sigh of relief. Although separated parents were allowed to continue child-care arrangements, children were not allowed to visit other family members like grandparents.
This still means that you have to stay at home for the most part, though. Overnight stays to second homes are not allowed and hotels and campsites have not reopened.
Visit “non-essential” shops
As of June 15, all “non-essential” shops opened in the UK. This included all clothes shops, furniture, toy and electrical stores, as well as betting shops, indoor markets, tailors and photography studios.
Other “non-essential” shopping, namely outdoor markets and car showrooms, opened earlier this month on June 1.
Secondary schools can go back
From June 14, some secondary schools and colleges across the UK have opened their doors to students again. It will be mainly those in year 10, who are sitting their GCSEs next year and those in year 12, who are due to sit their A-levels.
However, according to the BBC, some schools and colleges are only offering between five and 30 hours of teaching in person. Some of the institutions are making a gradual return, welcoming back struggling students first with many also providing pastoral sessions to check on students’ mental health.
Gather in groups of up to six outside
During the last press conference in May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that groups of up to six people from different households would be able to meet up outside – in a private garden or in a public space like a park, for example.
However it is vital that they remain 2 metres apart, the PM said at the time. He also stressed that people should not be making overnight stays (outside of the social bubble) and urged the public not to see too many people in quick succession.
The rules are the same in Northern Ireland as they are in England. In Scotland, up to eight people from two different households are allowed to meet outside and in Wales, any number of people from two different households can meet outside.
Reception, year one, year six and nursery age can go back to school
It was announced in May that those children in reception, year one, year six and nursey would be able to go back to school and child care from June 5.
However the decision has led to much controversy, with parents and teachers’ unions alike warning that it was too early and returning to school would encourage a spike in coronavirus cases. Since then, the government’s back to school plan has been dropped and according to the BBC’s education correspondent, Sean Coughlan, more than 90 per cent of children are still at home.
Those “shielding” are allowed to go outdoors
From June 1, those “shielding” from the virus – people at the most risk of becoming seriously unwell – were allowed to go outside with other members of their own household.
As they are still seriously at-risk, it’s advised that those “shielding” keep a strict 2-meter distance from others. If they live alone, they can see go out with another person from a different household, but social distancing must be maintained and it should, if possible, be the same person every time.
Exercise for as long as you like
There are no longer any restrictions for exercising or travelling to an outdoor, open space for exercise. Although, you must be able to return on the same day as overnight stays (outside of your social bubble) are prohibited and travel as much as possible by cycling, walking or driving to avoid public transport.
UK governments however have different rules on this and if you’re travelling between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, you should consult their guidelines before you do so.
What are the next phases of easing the lockdown?
Now there is plenty you can do in lockdown, many people are wondering what the next stage of lifting the lockdown looks like. When will we be able to go on holiday again? When hairdressers open again? When will restaurants and bars be opening again?
These questions have been brought up frequently over the last couple of weeks as many people have been itching to have more restrictions lifted.
However, as England’s chief medical officer, Chris Witty has previously said, “In the long run, the exit from this is going to be one of two things, ideally. A vaccine…or, highly effective drugs so that people stop dying of this disease even if they catch it, or which can prevent this disease in vulnerable people.
“Until we have those, and the probability of having those any time in the next calendar year is incredibly small, and I think we should be realistic about that.”
The next phase of lifting the lockdown will signify, as long as the infection rate remains low, the third stage of lockdown measures being lifted. It will see some industries such as hospitality and personal care reopen again, along with any other businesses that weren’t allowed to open on June 15.
With that in mind however, there are some next stages to lifting the lockdown and some of them are happening sooner rather than later…
Beer gardens will open again
Boris Johnson has suggested that June 22 will be the date that establishments with beer gardens (or outdoor space) will be able to open again.
Although it hasn’t been confirmed, many in the hospitality industries and especially those in pubs and restaurants have been eagerly awaiting this news, as they’ve been one of the worst hit industries in lockdown. While other places, such as zoos and children’s playgrounds, have been able to reopen because of a more reliable environment for social distancing, health ministers have been concerned that opening up hospitality could lead to a increase in Covid-19 cases due a lack of social distancing.
Hairdressers and beauty salons to open from July 4
Since Dominic Raab announced that hairdressers and barbers would be able to open from early July, many big and smaller salons have begun to take bookings once again. This comes as a relief to many who have taken to cutting their own hair in lockdown, as salons have been closed since March 23.
Although the government hasn’t issued final guidance yet, many salons have already stocked up on PPE supplies to ensure that they can open again safely. As chief executive of Toni & Guy, Nigel Darwin told the Sun, “For staff, it’s all been about communication while being transparent and honest about our plans, and relaying what we do know and don’t.”
It’s also expected that other personal care services, such as dentists and doctors might be able to open fully from this date, as it signifies the potential start of stage three – the next phase of coming out of lockdown. However, not much has been said so far about what could happen on July 4.
When is the next lockdown review?
With more social changes made earlier this month to allow two households to merge, the government is waiting for a longer period of time until the next lockdown review to consider the impact that it’s had. The next lockdown review will happen 28 days, rather than 21 days from the last review, which was on May 28. This means that the next review of the lockdown rules will happen on June 25.
Although, we don’t know when we will be out of lockdown completely as searches for a vaccine and more reliable treatment methods for Covid-19 are ongoing.