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Can I meet friends and family in London when lockdown eases tomorrow?

Get ready for the NEW ‘new normal’

Written by
Time Out London editors

This week the government’s nationwide lockdown rules will change and with it who we are allowed to meet and where. For those struggling with spending time apart from their friends and family, from tomorrow (Wednesday May 13) a video call will no longer be the only way you can stay in touch. 

Following Boris Johnson’s speech on Sunday May 10, the government published a 60-page document called ‘Our Plan to Rebuild’ which sets out the next steps for the UK to slowly come out of lockdown. It explains that the government will adjust current social distancing guidelines in gradual ‘steps’, the first of which begins tomorrow. 

Previously, lockdown guidelines dictated that people were not allowed to meet friends and family. However, from Wednesday you will be allowed to ‘spend time outdoors’ with one person from outside your household under social distancing guidelines. Despite initial confusion after statements from government ministers about how many people you could meet at one time, the paper makes it clear that you can only meet one person outside at a time, not two people (such as both parents) at once. This means you could visit one friend or partner, or a parent or grandparent individually while remaining outdoors and two metres apart at all times.  

Rules on exercise have also eased. Before, the rules only allowed you to exercise outside once a day for an hour, but from Wednesday ‘people may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish’ with the government citing activities such as angling and tennis. You will also be able to exercise with up to one person from outside your household while maintaining social distancing. This means you can go for a walk or jog in an outside space with one parent, grandparent, partner or friend as long as you keep two metres apart at all times. However, team sports must only be played with members of your household. 

The government has also said that people will now be allowed to drive as far as they want in England to go to an outside space. 

Despite the slight easing of the lockdown guidelines, people who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ should continue to shield themselves, while anyone showing any kind of symptoms must continue to self-isolate at home under continued household quarantine rules. 

The government has also said that ‘measures may come with some risk’ and ‘if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, [it] will trigger the need for further restrictions’.

Read the full plan set out by the government here

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