Social distancing guidance is being relaxed across the country.
Rules are different in each UK nation – and rules will not ease in Leicester, which is currently under a local lockdown.
What can I do at home?
Two households of any size can now meet inside in England.
You can meet different households at different times and overnight stays are allowed.
No more than two households should meet at any one time, and it is important that you don’t see anyone if you have any coronavirus symptoms.
But social distancing still applies with everyone you don’t live with – even your grandchildren.
So for the time being, unless they are in your support bubble, you can’t hug them. In Scotland, however, children aged 11 or under no longer have to socially distance with others outside, so since 3 July grandchildren and grandparents have been able to share a hug.
In England, though, you should ideally stay 2m (6ft) apart, but if that’s not possible, follow the “1 metre plus” guidance – using “mitigation” such as face coverings and not sitting face-to-face.
Why is a support bubble different?
Social distancing does not have to be observed in a support bubble.
In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, single adults living alone – or single parents with children under 18 – can form a bubble with one other household of any size, and visit each other’s homes. In Wales, two households of any size can now join up in a similar “extended household”.
Who should take extra care?
People with certain underlying health conditions, or who are pregnant or aged over 70, are deemed “clinically vulnerable”. They can go out, but should still take particular care.
In England, those categorised as “clinically extremely vulnerable”, or “shielders”, can go outside for exercise and meet up to five other people outdoors while social distancing. They can also form a support bubble.
How do I make ‘1 metre plus’ work at home?
Meet outside if possible, but if you do have to be inside remember the “plus” part of the new guidelines.
- Sit or stand side-by-side, not face-to-face
- Keep windows and doors open for ventilation
- Wear a face covering in crowded indoor places
Breath droplets travel further when more force is used, so try not to cough, talk loudly or sing.
If necessary, rearrange seating to help reduce the virus spread.
Remember anyone can be infectious, even if they’re not showing symptoms.
What about touching surfaces when I visit?
Avoid touching surfaces or your face.
Wash your hands regularly using soap and water or hand sanitiser.
If you’re hosting, clean surfaces both before and after the meeting. Wear washing-up gloves if you can.
Put a cloth and bleach spray in the toilet. Ensure people wash their hands and disinfect any tap, loo seat or toilet handles they’ve touched.
Avoid close-contact family games.
Can I cook a meal for visitors?
Yes. Conversation at the table will pose the main risk of aerosol/droplet transmission.
So, if you eat inside, keep windows and doors open for ventilation.
Put crockery and cutlery in a dishwasher or hot soapy water (and then rinse in cold water) immediately after use.
Experts recommend the following:
- Wash hands before and after preparing food, eating and washing up
- Put food straight on plates and don’t use large serving bowls
- Avoid serving cold food which needs “handling” before and during meals, like salads
- Use detergent or soapy water to regularly wipe down tables and chairs where people put hands, fingers and elbows – then wash the cloth
What about a socially-distanced meal out?
Pubs, restaurants and cafes have been able to open indoors in England and Northern Ireland, as long as they follow safety guidelines.
You should expect to:
- Book ahead
- Give contact details
- Follow a one-way system
- Be offered table service only
Staff should practise good hand hygiene and social distancing, but they don’t have to wear face coverings.
The government advice to employers includes:
- avoiding face-to-face seating
- monitoring crowd density, including at pinch points
- reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces
- improving ventilation
- changing shift patterns so staff work in set teams
What about the rest of the UK?
What else is opening in England?
Hotels, B&Bs, cottages, campsites and caravan parks can reopen.
Read our at-a-glance guide.
What if I have symptoms?
If you show symptoms of coronavirus, such as a dry cough, high temperature or loss of taste, you must self-isolate.
Stay at home and ask others to drop off food and medicines.