Hugs, hospitality and hotels finally return as restrictions ease

  • This bar in Huddersfield opened its doors at midnight as restrictions eased

Significant changes to the coronavirus restrictions came into force on Monday 17th May as we continue taking the next steps out of lockdown.

The rules have been relaxed as the country reaches stage three in the government's road map out of lockdown - which could see all aspects of society reopened by June 21.

The government is urging caution though as more social contact is allowed as concerns grow about the Indian variant of the virus.

In a statement on Sunday night, Mr Johnson said: "Together we have reached another milestone in our roadmap out of lockdown, but we must take this next step with a heavy dose of caution.

"We are keeping the spread of the variant first identified in India under close observation and taking swift action where infection rates are rising."

  • Louise Wallace, Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire echoed calls for a cautious approach.

  • Theatres

After a year without live plays and productions, theatres across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire opened their doors to enjoy live indoor performances again.

The stage curtain was finally lifted at York Theatre Royal where 10 local artists performed. The long-awaited production is described as a ‘love letter’ to theatre.

York theatre royal on its first night reopening since restrictions eased Credit: ITV Yorkshire

The venue will stage its second gala evening on Tuesday 18th May to a sell out half-capacity audience tonight.

Indoor entertainment can now also resume, including cinemas, museums and children’s play areas.

After a six month closure the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire say they cannot wait to see people return to Chatsworth House.

Timed tickets and social distancing will be in place to make sure visitors and staff remain covid safe.

The Deep in Hull has started welcoming visitors back this week after months of closure as the country takes one step further along the roadmap out of lockdown.

Katy  Duke CEO, The Deep, said they are relieved to be open again, but fear it will be a while before the aquarium is fully back on its feet.

The Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds welcomed visitors back to explore their new galleries, after closing for a multimillion-pound refurbishment before the pandemic, then being unable to reopen.

Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds

  • Hospitality

Pubs, restaurants and cafes can now serve customers indoors for the first time since last year. A welcome relief for hundreds of business owners throughout the region.

All remaining accommodation including hotels, hostels and B&Bs can also reopen.

In Bradford pubs and restaurants welcomed back furloughed staff ahead of reopening. Businesses owners said it was a 'weight off their shoulders.''

  • Hugs

Social distancing between friends and family now becomes a choice, meaning hugging is allowed!

From today, six people (or two households) will be able to mix indoors. Overnight stays are permitted with people not in your bubble.

  • Sport

Spectators can attend elite sporting events, but these will be restricted to 50% of capacity or up to 1,000 people for indoor events.

Organised adult sport and exercise classes can resume indoors and saunas and steam rooms may reopen.

  • Weddings and funerals

Weddings, receptions and other life events can take place with up to 30 people.

The cap has been lifted on the numbers attending funerals, in line with how many people can be safely accommodated in venues.

  • Travel

The ban on international travel is lifted and replaced by a traffic light system.

People who are travelling to countries on the green list will still need to take a Covid test up to 72 hours before their return travel, and a single PCR test on or before day two of their arrival into England.

Portugal is a popular holiday destination Credit: PA Images

Other lockdown rules which change from today:

  • Up to 30 people are able to attend a support group or parent and child group. The limit does not include children under 5

  • Care home visiting is eased, with residents able to have up to five named visitors and greater freedoms to make low risk visits out of the home

  • Face coverings for pupils no longer recommended in classrooms or in communal areas in secondary schools and colleges

  • All remaining university students are eligible to return to in-person teaching and should get tested twice a week upon return