What is changing as lockdown eases on May 17?

General view of racing at Romford Greyhound Stadium

The Romford dogs will be back from May 17 at the stadium in London Road - Credit: EMPICS Sport

The coronavirus lockdown is set to further lift on May 17, but what will the new rules be and what is reopening in Havering?

Covid-19 restrictions will further ease when we move to step three of the government's roadmap out of lockdown, which is expected to be on Monday, May 17.

The main change is indoor hospitality will be allowed once again.

The government will announce one week in advance of this date whether restrictions will be relaxed as planned, so people can expect confirmation on May 10.

Can pubs open indoors?.


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There will be no more clusters of umbrellas gathered around picnic tables from May 17 - pubs, cafés and restaurants will be allowed to serve customers indoors from step three, albeit with some restrictions still in place

The Good Intent and J.J Moon's pubs both in Hornchurch and The Bull in Romford are among those in Havering that are reopening when they can have drinkers indoors.

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Like in step two, venues won't have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks, nor will there be a closing time curfew, but it will be table service only.

What indoor attractions can open at step three?

Museums, galleries, indoor and outdoor cinemas, theatres, concert halls, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, bowling alleys and snooker and pool halls.

This will include Premiere Cinemas in the Liberty Centre, Queen's Theatre and Fairkytes Art Centre will reopen for its adult clubs.

Queen's Theatre Hornchurch. Picture: Gary Summers

Queen's Theatre Hornchurch is reopening on May 17 - Credit: Gary Summers

What else can open from May 17?

Indoor events and remaining outdoor events, including professional sports such as Romford's Greyhound stadium, business events and live performances.

Venues like conference centres and exhibition halls can also reopen.

People will be able to stay at holiday accommodation which is not already open, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs, as well as visit saunas and steam rooms, which are currently closed.

Indoor adult team sports and group exercise classes at gyms will also return.

How many people can attend events?

Indoor events recommencing at step three will be limited to 1,000 people or 50 per cent of the venue’s capacity, whichever is lower.

For outdoor events, the limit is 4,000 people or 50 per cent of capacity, whichever is lower.

These rules are set to apply to the Weald Park Country show in Brentwood on May 22 and 23.

Premiere Cinemas in Liberty Shopping Centre will be reopening May 17

Premiere Cinemas in Liberty Shopping Centre will be reopening on May 17 - Credit: Premiere Cinemas

Outdoor events at venues with seated capacity of more of than 16,000 will be limited to a 25 per cent cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 people.

How many households can mix from May 17?

As part of step three, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible.

Most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted – although gatherings of more than 30 people will remain illegal for now.

Indoors, the "Rule of Six" or two households will apply, including at home, but the government is keeping this under review.

The Fairkytes Arts Centre

The Fairkytes Arts Centre will reopen for its adult club classes - Credit: Ken Mears

Will social distancing still apply?

Yes. The government is due to update advice on social contact between friends and family, including hugging.

But until this point, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.

Before step four begins, the government will also complete a full review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut coronavirus transmission, such as the wearing of face masks.

How many people can attend a wedding from May 17?

Under step three rules, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in Covid-secure venues that are allowed to open. This is up from the 15 people allowed currently.

This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Government guidance says receptions can also go ahead with up to 30 people in a Covid-secure indoor venue or outdoors. This includes private gardens.

Further details on receptions at this step will be updated by the government. 

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The Weald Park Country Show is going ahead on May 22 - Credit: Weald Park Country Show

How many people can attend a funeral?

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said on May 3 that the legal limit of 30 mourners will be removed as part of stage three.

Instead, the capacity will be determined by how many people that indoor and outdoor venues can safely accommodate while maintaining social distancing.

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