Following the latest lockdown review on 28 May, the UK Government has begun to relax a number of lockdown restrictions as it works towards “reopening society”.
Several changes to rules were announced as England entered phase two of its lockdown exit plan on 1 June, including measures around shops and schools opening, along with visiting family and friends.
When will I be allowed to stay with family?
As of 1 June, family and friends in England are allowed to meet up in parks and private gardens in groups of up to six people from different households, providing social distancing is maintained.
People are also permitted to have a picnic or barbecue in someone’s garden, but visiting another household indoors is still not allowed.
However, current rules do consider it acceptable to walk through a house to gain access to a garden, but such a visit to a household cannot be extended to an overnight stay.
People are also permitted to use the toilet during a visit, but are advised to wipe down and clean surfaces afterwards, to lower the risk of virus transmission.
The government expects to enter phase three of lifting lockdown no earlier than 4 July, with any further changes to be warranted by the current alert level.
In this phase, visiting family and friends indoors may be permitted, providing it is considered safe to do so.
The government has asked SAGE to examine whether it can safely change regulations to allow people to expand their household group to include another household in the same exclusive group.
The intention of this would be to allow those who are isolated some more social contact, as well as supporting some families to return to work, by permitting the sharing of childcare.
Such a system could be based on the New Zealand model of household "bubbles", in which a single "bubble" is the people you live with.
The rationale behind keeping household groups small is to limit the number of social contacts people have, thereby reducing the risk of interhousehold transmissions.
When will restrictions next be reviewed?
A review of lockdown restrictions in England was initially supposed to be held every three weeks, but ministers have not changed the law to allow them more time to make decisions.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that the review is being extended by a full week in a Written Ministerial Statement on 2 June, meaning decisions on any changes will now be made every 28 days.
In the statement he wrote: “To ensure that we are making future decisions about the lockdown at the right time, the maximum review period will change from 21 days to 28 days.
“This will allow decisions to align more closely with the period of time necessary to assess the impact of previous changes on key data feeds, including the R rate.
“The Government will also keep all the measures under continual review and will account to Parliament on an ongoing basis.”
As such, the next lockdown review in England should take place on Thursday 25 June.
Following this review, visits to family indoors could be permitted, if it is deemed safe to do so.