England will press ahead with plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions further on May 17, including allowing people to meet indoors, indoor hospitality reopening and the return of hugging.

Under Step three of the four step plan, as outlined when it was first announced, people will be allowed to meet up indoors for the first time in months, in groups of up to six people or two full households together.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to host customers indoors, also for the first time in months and subject to certain rules.

Other indoor entertainment, hospitality and sports venues will also be able to resume activity while overnight stays will be allowed from next Monday.

Downing Street said the latest data on COVID vaccinations, on infections, hospitalisations and deaths, and on the risk posed by new variants had been taken into account in deciding to move forward with Step 3.

“The data reflects what we already knew – we are not going to let this virus beat us,” Johnson said, according to a Downing Street statement.

“The roadmap remains on track, our successful vaccination programme continues – more than two thirds of adults in the UK have now had the first vaccine – and we can now look forward to unlocking cautiously but irreversibly.”

The changes expected will mean that groups of up to a maximum of 30 people can meet outside, the cap on attendees at funerals to be lifter and wedding attendees to be increased to 30

Crowds can return to sporting events with a limit of twenty five per cent at outdoor stadiums while there will be a maximum capacity of 1,000 or fifty per cent at indoor venues


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