UK lockdown: Can I see my family and friends under new coronavirus rules?

Prime minister announced an updating to easing lockdown measures in England on Tuesday 23 June

Sabrina Barr
Tuesday 23 June 2020 14:15 BST
Two households allowed to meet indoors as long as they keep their distance, Johnson announces

On Tuesday 23 June, Boris Johnson announced a further lifting of lockdown measures in England.

The prime minister confirmed that pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen from 4 July, in addition to announcing that people can meet indoors with friends and family in gatherings involving two households.

The update marks a shift from previous governmental guidelines, which stipulated that members of the public could only socialise with friends or family from outside their household in outdoor spaces.

In a previous announcement, the prime minister said that as all five tests required to reach the next phase of lockdown easing had been met, groups of up to six people could meet outside as long as they practised social distancing.

So what are the new rules that are coming into force, and how have they changed from the previous guidelines?

Meeting indoors

Whereas previously people were not permitted to meet with friends or family indoors unless they were part of a “support bubble” between one single adult household and one other household, on Tuesday 23 June the prime minister announced that soon two entire households will be allowed to meet in an indoor space.

However, this can only include two households at most, Mr Johnson explained.

This does not mean that the two households will form a bubble, as they can still meet up with other households, albeit only with two households at a time.

Staying overnight

As part of the update on allowing two households to spend time indoors together, Mr Johnson said that people can also stay overnight.

However, unless they are part of a support bubble, they are advised to refrain from physical contact such as hugging.

“From 4 July, 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 campsites, as long as shared facilities are kept clean,” the prime minister said.

Social distancing

While the previous social distancing guidelines outlined that people should remain at least two metres away from one another, the update states that this distance can be reduced to at least one metre.

Mr Johnson stated that described the new social distancing guideline as “one metre plus”, explaining that other mitigations, such as wearing face coverings, sitting side by side rather than face to face and using hand sanitiser, should be taken into consideration when socialising.

Gatherings with friends

Since 1 June, members of the public in England have been allowed to gather in groups of up to six people in outdoor spaces.

This has meant that activities such as barbecues have been allowed to go ahead.

According to the prime minister, barbecues with friends or family were allowed “provided you did it in a socially-distanced way, provided everyone washes their hands, provided everybody exercises common sense”.

He previously stated that it would be wise to “avoid seeing too many households in quick succession”, so as to avoid the “risk of quick transmission from lots of different families and continue to control the virus”.

Read more: Which lockdown tier am I in? How to work out which tier your area falls under


While people can exercise outdoors in groups, social distancing guidelines still apply.

This means that individuals can work out together with up to five other people, as long as they keep a safe distance from each other.

People in England are also permitted to sunbathe in local parks.

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