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How are rules changing on 17 May in England?

Posted on: 17 May 2021

From today, 17 May lockdown rules in England are easing as part of step 3 of the Government's road map. You will now be able to:

From today, 17 May 2021:

Meeting others

  • Six people or two households can meet indoors, with overnight stays allowed. People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
  • Up to 30 people can attend weddings, receptions, and commemorative events such as wakes. The number of people who can attend funerals now depends on the size of the venue.
  • Up to 30 people can attend support groups, or parent and child groups. The limit does not apply to children under five.
  • Residents in care homes can now have up to five named visitors.

Social distancing

  • People can now make personal decisions on close contact with their family and friends. Remember that Covid-19 is still here and infectious. You should be cautious about hugging others, especially if they are not vaccinated. 
  • Social distancing remains in place in retail, hospitality, business, and medical settings. You still need to wear a face covering on public transport and in shops, unless you are exempt.

Leisure and entertainment

  • Pubs, restaurants, bars, and caf├ęs can serve customers indoors.
  • Museums and cinemas can reopen, along with hostels, hotels, and B&Bs.
  • Theatres, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadiums can all reopen.
  • Children's indoor play areas can reopen.
  • Steam rooms and saunas can reopen, and indoor organised sports and exercise classes for adults can restart.


  • Face coverings are no longer required in secondary schools and colleges.
  • All remaining university students can return to in-person learning.


Check with your local place of worship for the latest advice.

The government is continuing to review cases of Covid-19, vaccination rollout, and any new variants of the virus. Each stage of the roadmap will consider these to ensure the safe lifting of restrictions.

From 21 June 2021:

Stage four of the roadmap is due to begin on 21 June, when it's hoped that all legal limits on social contact will be removed, and nightclubs will be allowed to reopen.

This advice could change, so make sure you keep up to date with the latest information. You can view the full roadmap on the government website.