Lockdown rules: The friends and family you can meet from this Wednesday

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read

For the first time since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed on 23 March, people have been granted permission to meet people from outside their households.

As of Wednesday, people will be able to meet family and friends in outdoor spaces such as parks.

It was confirmed by the government in its new “COVID-19 recovery strategy” published on Monday afternoon – though Number 10 warned stringent restrictions will remain in place.

Here is everything you need to know.

At the beginning of another week of Coronavirus pandemic lockdown, when the government is considering its options for a gradual opening of business with social distancing, during their daily exercise in Ruskin Park in south London, two women friends hold a conversation while observing social distancing of the two metres recommended by the government, on 4th May 2020, in Lambeth, London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
Under new guidelines, people can meet one person from another household in outdoor spaces – while staying two metres apart. (Richard Baker/In Pictures via Getty Images)

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Who can I meet?

Strictly one person at a time from a separate household, while outdoors.

What rules apply?

The government has set out two key guidelines for this scenario: continuing to comply with social distancing rules by staying two metres away from one another, and maintaining good hand hygiene – particularly when it comes to shared surfaces.

Why is this allowed outdoors and not indoors?

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has said the risk of COVID-19 transmission outdoors is “significantly lower” than indoors.

What about meeting different members of my family?

This is not addressed in the guidance, but foreign secretary Dominic Raab suggested people must meet relatives separately.

Asked if someone should meet, for example, their mother in the morning and father in the afternoon, Raab told BBC Breakfast: “In the outdoors, staying two metres apart – yes.”

Can I exercise with someone from outside my household?

Yes. Again, this is strictly one person while maintaining the two-metre distance. As such, team sports are ruled out.

Is there any risk in meeting someone from outside my household?

Yes, though as mentioned above, transmission rates are lower outdoors.

The government warned in its guidance: “These measures may come with some risk; it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date.

“The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.”

Why has there been confusion?

Before the publication of its strategy, the government had been accused of lacking clarity in its messaging.

The confusion began during Boris Johnson’s address to the nation at 7pm on Sunday. The PM said: “You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports – but only with members of your own household.”

Twenty minutes after Johnson’s speech ended, a government official said that as long as a two-metre distance is maintained, people will be allowed to sunbathe or chat in a park with one other person from a different household.

This was followed by Raab’s comments about meeting different family members at different times of the day.

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