UK lockdown: Can I see my friends and family in a private space under the new rules?

People in England can now meet indoors in groups consisting of two households

Matt Hancock commits to coronavirus lockdown easing from July 4

On Tuesday 23 June, Boris Johnson outlined a further easing of lockdown measures in England.

The prime minister announced that establishments including pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen from 4 July, in addition to relaxing the two-metre social distancing rule to one metre plus.

Mr Johnson also explained that new rules are being put in place to allow people to meet with friends or family indoors.

England transitioned into phase two of easing lockdown restrictions on 1 June.

This meant that new rules came into effect, enabling some children to return to school and an increase in social and family contact.

So can you now meet up with friends or family in private spaces?

Can I see friends and family indoors and outdoors?

During his address to the House of Commons on Tuesday 23 June, Mr Johnson stated that people can begin socialising indoors, albeit in limited groups.

“From July 4, provided that no more than two households stay together, people will be free to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation including hotels and bed and breakfasts, as well as camp sites, as long as shared facilities are kept clean,” he said.

When spending time with loved ones outdoors, in private gardens or outdoor spaces such as parks, it remains advised to meet in groups of six, a guideline that came into force from Monday 1 June.

If the visit is happening in a person’s private outdoor garden, all guests must remain vigilant when using the toilet in another household.

If you live alone or are a single parent who has formed a “support bubble”, you can meet up with one other household indoors and you do not have to practise social distancing them.

In Scotland, from 19 June people from one household were allowed to meet up with two other households, as long as these meetings only take place outdoors in groups of no more than eight.

In Wales, people from two separate households can socialise outdoors in groups of any size, while in Northern Ireland it is advised that meetings continue to take place outside.

Can couples who live apart meet up to have sex?

While the new guidelines issued by the government outline that people from two different households can meet up indoors and stay overnight in self-contained accommodation, it emphasises that physical contact should still be kept to a minimum.

Unless a person has formed a support bubble with another household, it is therefore not recommended that hugging or other forms of body contact with people from outside your household take place.

Other than two households meeting and support bubbles, are there any exceptions for meeting indoors?

The guidelines do include some exceptions that will be accepted as a “reasonable excuse” for being inside a private space with two or more people.

These include attending a funeral; being an elite athlete or coach of an elite athlete in training; facilitating a house move; meeting for necessary work purposes; providing care for a vulnerable person; providing emergency assistance; to escape a risk of harm or providing childcare.

The previous regulation’s much tougher restrictions outlined reasonable excuses for leaving the house as obtaining basic necessities, taking exercise or seeking medical assistance.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments