Hospitality, hugs and hotels finally return as restrictions ease

hospitality sector reopens

Significant changes to the coronavirus restrictions come into force today (May 17) as we take the next steps out of lockdown.

People in the Midlands have once again been able to attend pubs, cafes and restaurants that have welcomed customers back inside, as well as indoor leisure venues.

In the region, that includes the newly named Silverstone Interactive Museum which has new exhibits and plenty of iconic cars and bikes. 

The newly named Silverstone Interactive Museum has reopened today.

Elsewhere, staff at the Lego Discovery Centre in Birmingham, which was forced to close at the start of November, have been gearing up to welcome visitors.

Workers say they hope this time they can stay open for good. 

The easing of restrictions also means people can now:

  • Hug

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.

Holiday-makers will also be able to travel abroad now to green-list countries without having to quarantine on their return. 

The first scheduled passenger flight from East Midlands Airport is also due to set off today - after nearly 5 months of restrictions.

The Ryanair flight to Faro in Portugal will take off later this afternoon. Portugal is one of 12 countries on the government's green list. 

However, the government is urging caution 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."

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