Here's whether you can meet friends for a picnic in the park as lockdown guidance is relaxed
This week (13 May) saw England’s lockdown measures designed to tackle the spread of coronavirus loosened ever so slightly.
Social distancing guidance is still in force across the UK, with people advised to stay two metres apart from each other, but in England, two people from two households are able to meet in a public place, providing they maintain a two-metre distance.
You can also exercise more than once a day and even travel as far as you like to get there (while remaining within England).
But as we continue to experience mild lockdown temperatures – and seeing as public parks are more accessible than they were just a few weeks ago – people will be asking the all important question…
Can I have a picnic?
In theory, you probably could have a picnic, but seeing as you’d have to abide by a multitude of social distancing rules, it’s probably not worth the hassle.
For a start, current measures dictate that you’re only allowed to see one other person from outside of your household at a time in a public place.
That means your picnic would be pretty ill attended. Even then, you will have to maintain a distance of at least two metres from that person at all times.
It’s also definitely not recommended you share foodstuffs, utensils or any other equipment which could spread the virus between two people.
So really, you’d only be able to have two solo picnics in relative proximity to each other. Not ideal.
Any larger meetings between different households at the same time is currently banned, with the government rules meaning someone cannot see both parents at the same time.
Visiting the homes of family and friends is also still not allowed. This includes private gardens.
When will the rules change?
In a Downing Street press conference on 13 May, Dr Jenny Harries said meeting with family could later be expanded to allow different households to meet as "bubbles" or "clusters", but such a step needs to be carefully considered.
Family gatherings that involve multiple generations are still considered too dangerous until more is known about the virus and who is the most at risk.
What about other parts of the UK?
Driving to other destinations, such as parks or beaches, within England is now also permitted), but should only be done with members of your own household.
Crossing the border to Wales or Scotland for leisure activities is not allowed if different restrictions are in force.
Government guidance states: “People may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there, because this does not involve contact with people outside your household.
“When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration.”
In Scotland, the ‘stay at home’ message still remains, meaning people should not leave their households to visit family members or friends.
In Wales, the current advice on social distancing and visiting family remains the same, with the only changes to lockdown guidance being the reopening of garden centres and no limit on the amount of exercise per day.
Northern Ireland is allowing groups of between four and six people who do not share a household to meet up outdoors, while maintaining social distancing.
Visits to immediate family indoors will be allowed, provided social distancing is adhered to, with the exception of those who are shielding.