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COVID-19 - Government and NHS advice for the general public

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot change on Monday 17 May. However, there are some restrictions still in place.

Graphic image: COVID-19 - from 17 May 2021 groups of up to 6 people or two households can meet indoors.

Graphic image: COVID-19 - from 17 May 2021 groups of up to 6 people or two households can meet indoors.
Latest national COVID-19 information

You should continue to work from home if you can. When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.

You should get a Covid-19 test and follow the stay at home guidance if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

From 17 May...

  • 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.

    For further guidance visit:
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children's indoor play areas will be permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place.
  • 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.
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
  • 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.
  • All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • 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.

    For further guidance visit:

From 12 April...

  • non-essential retail can reopen
  • personal care services such as hairdressers and nail salons can reopen, including those provided from a mobile setting
  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres can reopen
  • outdoor hospitality venues can reopen, with table service only
  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) can reopen
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds can take place
  • indoor leisure and sports facilities can reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • all childcare and supervised activities are allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events can take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • self-contained accommodation can stay open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)

Links to latest guidance...

Download the NHS COVID-19 app today

The free NHS COVID-19 app is a vital part of the NHS Test and Trace service in England, and the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect service.

Based on an Apple/Google privacy framework, the app has a number of tools designed to help us protect those we love, including: contact tracing, checking into venues through an in-built QR code scanner, risk alerts by postcode, a symptom checker and test booking.

Downloading the app is the fastest way to see if you're at risk from the virus. The faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your loved ones.

Download the app from either of the following  links...

Support bubblesCOVID-19 Support Bubbles

You can now form a 'support bubble' with one other household if you live alone or are a single parent with dependent children.

Inside your support bubble you will be able to act as if you live in the same household - you can spend time together inside each other's homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart.

You can only be in one support bubble - you should not switch the household you are in a bubble with or create a bubble with more than one household.

Since 13 June 2020; you can attend your place of worship for the purposes of individual prayer.

Wearing of face masks

In England you are expected to wear a face covering before entering most indoor settings and you must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

You should also wear a face covering in any indoor place where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Face coverings are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They should also be worn in care homes.

For further information see:

Links to further information

The government and the NHS both provide public information on the outbreak of coronavirus, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms.

For further information and advice visit:

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