Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined his roadmap for how England will come out of lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The roadmap sets out the key dates where people could start to meet up again – both outdoors and indoors.
Since the third national lockdown began on January 6, people have only been allowed to meet one other person from another household outside for exercise.
But under the new guidance, the rule of six will be brought back, after it was first introduced on September 14.
Here is everything you need to know about the new rule of six, which will come into play from March 29.
What is the rule of six?
The rule of six means a maximum of six people, from six different households, will be allowed to meet up outdoors from March 29.
Alternatively, if only two households are mixing, the group can exceed six people.
The outdoor meet-ups can happen in private gardens and other outdoor spaces – but social distancing measures have to be adhered to.
Outdoor hospitality will open at the earliest April 12, and the rule of six also applies here.
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The rule of six will apply indoors from May 17.
Indoor hospitality also hopes to be able to open from this day, and the rule of 6 will continue to apply.
However, this will only happen if the government is satisfied four tests have been met. That means the measures are constantly under review.
When will social distancing and the need to use face masks end?
The government’s four tests are:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
- Infection rates don’t risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
- Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern
If everything goes smoothly, and all four tests are met along the way, the rule of six will be removed from June 21.
This is when the government hopes there will be no legal limit on social contact.
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