The limit on wedding guests will be raised (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
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Boris Johnson dashed hopes across the country this week by delaying step 4 of the lockdown easing for a month.
That means some Covid rules and regulations will remain in place until at least July 19.
Masks will continue in shops and on public transport, work-from-home guidance will carry on, and table service remains in pubs.
But there are a few rule changes that are still going ahead – and it's good news for people planning to get married in the next four weeks.
Rules on wakes and care home visits will also be relaxed slightly from next Monday.
Announcing the delay, the PM said if June 21 went ahead, "there is a real possibility that the virus will outrun the vaccines and thousands more deaths would ensue that could otherwise have been avoided."
He added: "It's unmistakably clear the vaccines are working and the sheer scale of the vaccine roll-out has made our position incomparably better than in previous waves.
"But now is the time to ease off the accelerator, because by being cautious now we have the chance in the next four weeks to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people."
There will be a two-week review of the delay on June 28, and the PM’s official spokesman said if data is “much better than expected”, restrictions could then be eased on Monday 5 July. But the spokesman added this outcome is “unlikely”.
There is no guarantee step four will not be delayed again, and the move to step four will only be confirmed on July 12.
But Boris Johnson said: "I’m pretty confident that July 19 will be a terminus date”. And his spokesman said there’s “no suggestion” of reversing restrictions and crashing back into step two.
So what can and can’t you do from next Monday in England? Here’s a rough guide.
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You can get a vaccine earlier
The government has officially brought forward its July 31 target to offer a first dose of vaccine to all over-18s in the England.
Instead it now aims to offer all adults a first dose of the vaccine by July 19 – the new date step four should take effect.
At the same time, ministers have set a new target to offer all eligible over-40s in England their second dose by July 19 at the latest.
To achieve this, all over-40s will now be offered their second dose eight weeks after their first – not 12 weeks, as is the case now.
The dose “interval” had already been shortened for over-50s, but it will now be shortened for people in their 40s as well.
The vaccine rollout will be slightly accelerated – with a new target of July 19 for all adults
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)
No10 said people in their 40s will be contacted to change their appointment date for their second dose, so they do not need to contact the NHS or their GP themselves.
These changes should mean two-thirds of adults have been offered both doses by July 19.
Meanwhile, the government is looking at whether the changing balance of risk could mean the AstraZeneca jab is once again offered to younger people.
Currently it is limited to over-40s due to the small risk of blood clots – but as Covid cases rise, the benefits of getting the jab will be more likely to outweigh any risks.
Boris Johnson made the announcement at today's press conference
You can get married with no 30-person limit
The 30-person limit on weddings will be removed in England from June 21, despite step four being delayed.
That means there will be no numerical limit on either receptions or ceremonies – either indoors or outdoors.
Instead, capacity limits will be the highest number of people venues can accommodate while still being Covid-secure.
The 30-person limit will also be lifted on weddings outdoors on private land, including in gardens. There will be a risk assessment which organisers need to fill out.
It will mean weddings with hundreds of people can go ahead after months of uncertainty.
Weddings will be allowed to go ahead without a cap on numbers
(Image: Getty Images)
But other restrictions on weddings – including the ban on most singing and dancing, and guests having to wear masks at certain points – will remain in place until step four.
People at an indoor venue will need to be on tables of no more than six people. Indoor venues must shut off their dance floors – apart from for the “first dance”.
Marquees on private land need to have two sides open to qualify as 'outdoors'.
The rule of six indoors still applies to weddings in private homes – except for deathbed weddings, which can have up to 30 guests.
You can attend a loved one’s wake, not just their funeral
The 30-person limit on other commemorative events including wakes will be lifted in England from June 21.
Instead, capacity will be driven by the maximum number of people a venue can accommodate within Covid-secure rules.
This means wakes will now follow the same capacity rules as funerals.
You can have a relative from a care home round for lunch
Rules on visits outside care homes will be relaxed in England from June 21, despite the delay to other easings of lockdown.
The PM’s spokesman said: “The requirement for residents to isolate for 14 days after visits out of care homes will also be removed in most cases.”
From June 21, care residents won't have to isolate after spending time away from the home with family and friends – including overnight stays.
And residents will no longer have to isolate when they're first admitted to a home. Instead they'll take a series of tests over the first two weeks to allow for a "less disruptive" introduction to their new home.
But they will still have to isolate for 14 days following hospital visits.
Fuller guidance is due to be published by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Care home rules are being relaxed, though we've not yet been given the details
(Image: Getty Images)
You can still meet up to 29 friends outdoors
Step three already allows outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people.
While social distancing recommendations still apply, they are not the law, and people are able to use their individual judgement.
For instance, an outdoor gathering between two fully-vaccinated people is safer than an enclosed area with people who only had one dose.
Boris Johnson suggested people may wish to continue social distancing after July 19.
The Prime Minister said: "People may want to keep maintaining social distancing, they may want to keep being sensible.
"But as far as I can see we will be in a much better position as a country to go forward with the full opening up that we envisage."
You can still attend school without a mask
There are no plans to reintroduce masks in schools – though there is an element of local decision making based on cases in their area.
Local authorities retain the ability to change their approach in areas where there are sig outbreaks – but "we're confident our guidelines are the right approach”, said No10.
You can’t have more than five friends round indoors
The biggest restriction still on people’s lives in England is arguably the ‘rule of six’ on indoor gatherings.
People cannot legally gather in groups of more than six people, or a larger number of people from a maximum of two households.
As long as you’re within the rule of six, you can have people round for overnight stays and make your own decisions on hugging.
But the six-person cap has prevented house parties, big Sunday meals and nightclubs (more below). There are exemptions for work, education and some ‘Covid-secure’ events.
Axing this rule of six was a key part of moving to step four – so that means the indoor rule of six remains for now.
You can’t all head back to the office
Advice to work from home where possible will continue to apply after June 21, due to the delay to step four.
You can’t rip your mask off
General laws on masks in shops and on public transport remain in place, and are not being lifted from June 21.
Those who fail to wear a mask without a medical or similar exemption can be fined £200.
You can’t go to a nightclub or strip club
Nightclubs are among the only venues still shut under the step three of the government’s roadmap for England.
It’s been a brutal 15 months for these venues in which they have not been able to open at all, even last summer.
Also shut are “dance halls, discotheques, sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars”.
The aim was to allow these to reopen at step four of the roadmap, potentially with Covid passports. But that’s now delayed.
For Your Eyes Only club, St Mary's street, Cardiff
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
You can’t pack out a football stadium
Currently most large events can only operate at 50% capacity or less – making sports fixtures and gigs difficult to turn a profit (or be fun).
Since April there have been pilot events, trialling the idea of packing in large crowds without social distancing.
Attendees have taken rapid Covid tests before they’re allowed through the gates, in a model that could potentially be used as a return to normality.
But this return will have to wait – instead of forging ahead, the government plans to hold more pilot events to get more data.
There will be more test events like this – but not yet a full-blown return to the Real McCoy
(Image: Mercury Press & Media)
You can’t claim more furlough
There are “no changes” to the furlough scheme or other economic support despite the four-week delay, the PM’s spokesman said.
That includes no change to the ban on commercial evictions, which is still due to end on June 30.
Currently the government is paying 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
From July government contributions will fall to 70% up to £2,187.50, with employers having to pay 10%. They then fall again to 60% up to £1,875 in August and September, with employers paying 20%, before ending altogether.
No10 refused to accept modelling which has claimed the delay could have a £3bn impact on the hospitality industry.
The PM’s official spokesman said: ”As you would expect, there will be an economic impact to further delay.
“At the budget we deliberately extended most support well into the autumn, acknowledging there could be uncertainty in the path of the virus."