Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that indoor socialising, dining in at restaurants and (limited) travel is finally back on the cards for those living in England, as part of the easing of lockdown restrictions.
But there’s plenty more to be excited about, too – so we’ve dug out some of the rule changes you might’ve missed, from theatre trips to group exercise classes.
A word of warning, though. Prime minister Boris Johnson has urged people to take this next step “with a heavy dose of caution” due to new variants circulating in the UK – so “don’t get too carried away”.
1. You can go to the cinema
Big news for film fans! Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas can all now reopen. Just make sure you wear your mask.
2. Gym classes are back
While gyms have been open for a while, people haven’t been able to attend group gym classes – until now. Classes can go ahead on the condition they’ve been organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission, reads government advice.
3. Hotels are reopening
While international travel is resuming (to some degree) from today, another big milestone is that UK hotels and B&Bs can also reopen their doors to visitors – so you no longer have to book a stay away in self-contained accommodation.
4. Big life events can take place with 30 people
Weddings, wakes, bar mitzvahs and christenings can all take place with up to 30 people, while funerals are no longer limited to just 30 guests. Numbers will be determined by how many people a venue can safely accommodate with social distancing, according to guidance.
5. University students head back
After a long stint of studying from home and online-only lectures, all higher education students are able to access in-person teaching from May 17.
6. The sex ban is over
Up until now, social distancing has been a must, so sex has been off the cards. But the new guidance emphasises ‘personal responsibility’ rather than government rules.
So, rather than being told to stay two metres apart from anyone you don’t live with, you’re encouraged to “exercise caution”. This means you can now have sex with people outside your household or support bubble, erm, cautiously.
Dr Michael Brady, medical director at the Terrence Higgins Trust, shared his top tips for reducing your risk of catching or passing on Covid-19 during sex. These include: avoiding kissing, wearing a face mask, washing hands before and after sex, and favouring positions where you’re not face-to-face. “Using condoms or dams for blow jobs and rimming will further reduce the risk,” he said.