Covid-19: What can you now do with lockdown eased from March 29?

London Fields Lido. Picture: Richard Dawson/ Hackney Council

Ourdoor swimming pools like London Fields Lido are allowed to reopen as Covid restrictions ease. - Credit: Richard Dawson

The government's "stay at home" message has been replaced with the new mantra of "stay local", as some restrictions put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus are eased from March 29.

Here's a guide to the second phase of our climb down from lockdown and what it means for you. 

Can I meet with family and friends?

For many the change will mean seeing family members and friends for the first time in months as groups of up to six people or members from two households can now meet outdoors in public places as well as private gardens. 

Groups of six from different households can gather while meetings of two households can have more than six people, including those in existing support bubbles. 


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Those meeting up must still observe social distancing rules. Gathering indoors is not yet allowed. 

Can I play group sports again?

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Outdoor sports facilities like swimming pools, football pitches, tennis and basketball courts are now allowed to be open for public use, but must likely be booked in advance to ensure social distancing.

Female swimmer exits the water with thumbs up.

The West Reservoir is situated near to Woodberry Down. - Credit: Leonard Martin

Unless formally organised by a qualified coach or club the "rule of six" will apply to outdoor sports and activities. 

Indoor sports will continue to be prohibited until April 12 when gyms are set to reopen. Group exercise classes however, will not likely resume indoors until mid-May.  

This phase of lockdown easing emphasises that exercise should be 'local wherever possible', though the term "local" has not been legally defined and, it is accepted some people may need to travel a short distance to access an open space. 

The public is advised to "minimise travel wherever possible".

Can I travel out of London?

The "stay local" request is not compulsory and people are now allowed to leave home for non-essential reasons and use public transport.

While long-distance travel is not encouraged it is legal providing rules such as overnight stays are not broken but people are asked to minimise the number of journeys they make.

When can I attend a a gig, a festival or outdoor attraction?

All Points East in 2019. Picture: Nathan Diamond

All Points East in 2019. Picture: Nathan Diamond - Credit: Archant

For people missing London's music and cultural scene they will have to wait until May 17 to enjoy an indoor performance or smaller events, with social distancing restrictions still in place. 

Large-scale events will not be able to take place until June 21 and multiple organisers, such as All Points East, have already confirmed festival dates for 2021. 

Zoos and safari parks are scheduled to welcome back customers from April 12, alongside other outdoor attractions. 

Do I still need to work from home?

Those working from home will likely continue for several more weeks as existing guidelines say you can only leave home for work purposes if it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home. 

Can I go to the pub? 

View of Wembley Park Boulevard.
Picture: Chris Winter /Quintain

View of Wembley Park Boulevard. Picture: Chris Winter /Quintain - Credit: Chris Winter

If you are looking forward to a pint and pub grub you will have to wait a little longer as restaurants and pubs will not be opening their doors again until April 12, with outside seating only. 

They will be allowed to serve food and drinks to customers sitting outdoors, including alcohol.

But those attending pubs and restaurants will only be able to meet in groups of six from multiple households, or in groups of any size for two households. 

Will vulnerable family members still have to shield? 

Those shielding will only have to until March 31. 

People vulnerable to Covid should however, continue to take extra precautions such as observing social distancing and working from home if possible. 

Groups picnic along a path in Plashet Park. Picture: Submitted

Groups picnic along a path in Plashet Park. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

What kinds of gatherings remain illegal? 

Large gatherings, unless certain exemptions apply, will remain unlawful under phase two of the government roadmap. 

The Met have said they will continue to respond to gatherings which pose a risk to public health such as a large house party or an unlicensed music event.

Police say officers will remain highly visible in communities, including open spaces, as the restrictions ease from March 29. 

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