From 29 March, two households of any size – or up to six people from six different households – will be allowed to meet outdoors, including in private gardens.
The ‘Stay at Home’ message will be switched for ‘Stay Local’, though it is understood that this order will not be strictly enforced if people are driving to see friends and family within a distance which allows them to return the same day.
It is not 12 April at the earliest that overnight stays away from home will be permitted in self-contained accommodation or second homes, but only involving one household.
And indoor mixing in homes – limited to two households or six people – will not be permitted until at least 17 May, when hotel stays will also be restored.
Any of these dates could, however, be delayed in the case of evidence of renewed pressure on hospitals from Covid-19 infection, dangerous new variants of the virus or failure of vaccines to drive down the disease.
Meanwhile, maximum attendances at weddings or wakes will increase from six to 15 from 12 April at the earliest and to 30 no earlier than 17 May, while funerals will remain at 30.
The legal limit on numbers at all life events – including bar mitzvahs and christenings – will be scrapped altogether from 21 June, if all goes to plan.