Groups of up to six people will be able to meet outdoors in England from Monday 1 June, provided strict social distancing guidelines are followed. However, those who are shielding due to health or other related issues, should continue to do so.
How the six people meeting rule works
From 1 June up to six people from different households will be allowed to meet outside, including in gardens and other private outdoor spaces. The evidence shows that the risk of transmission is significantly lower outdoors and this step will mean that people can see more of their friends, family and loved ones. However, as we take this small step forward, it is critical that those from different households continue to stay 2 metres apart. And it remains the case that people should not spend time inside the homes of their friends and families, other than to access the garden or use the toilet.
Stay Alert: Minimising contact with others is still the best way to prevent transmission. The Prime Minister was clear today that people should try to avoid seeing people from too many households in quick succession – so that we can avoid the risk of quick transmission between lots of different families and continue to control the virus. Those who are shielding should continue to do so. The Government recognises the toll this is taking on groups that have been asked to shield and hopes to say more soon on what further support we can provide.
Important links. Read the scientific evidence on transmission.
The Prime Minister announced the change as he set out a carefully-designed package to ease the burdens of lockdown in a way that is expected to keep the R rate down. Thanks to the public’s continued patience and hard work in helping to protect the NHS and contain the virus, the Prime Minister confirmed that the government’s five tests are being met. This means we can now move forward to the next phase of adjusting the lockdown.
The Government’s five tests are:
- Protect the NHS’s ability to cope. We must be confident that we are able to provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment right across the UK
- See a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates from COVID-19 so we are confident that we have moved beyond the peak
- Reliable data from SAGE showing that the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board
- Be confident that the range of operational challenges, including testing capacity and PPE, are in hand, with supply able to meet future demand
- Be confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelms the NHS
More Lockdown Easing Measures
A series of measures will be put in place in England from Monday 1 June in three core areas – schools, retail, and social contact.
Schools: Primary schools will welcome back children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 on 1 June, and nurseries and other early years settings will be reopened. On 15 June, secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges will begin to provide some face-to-face contact time for Year 10 and 12 and the equivalent groups in further education. This will help students prepare for exams next year, and we expect there to be around a quarter of these secondary students in at any point. The Prime Minister has also acknowledged that some schools may not be able to reopen immediately, and has committed the government to continuing to work with the sector to ensure any schools experiencing difficulties are able to open as soon as possible.
Shops: Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres will also begin to reopen in June as we restart the economy. Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, provided they meet COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. We intend to open all other non-essential retail from 15 June, as long as the government’s five tests are still being met and COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed.
Test and Trace: The new NHS Test and Trace programme will ensure we keep making progress in easing the lockdown while continuing to keep the virus under control. The government will closely monitor the impact of the changes set out today and continue to follow the scientific advice to ensure the five tests continue to be met before we take any further steps. So far, the public have shown high levels of compliance and the Goverment are confident that this will continue as restrictions are relaxed, and that people will do the right thing to control the virus and save lives.
The police will continue to take the approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging individuals to follow the law. Where people do not follow the rules, the police will have the power to enforce these requirements as a last resort.