Lockdown restrictions were eased again yesterday to allow pub gardens and non-essential shops to reopen.

Dubbed as 'Freedom Day', it was arguably the biggest easing of restrictions to date this year as gyms and hairdressers were also welcoming customers back.

The reopening of shops and hospitality venues marks step two in the Government’s road map out of lockdown.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the plans to ease the restrictions remained on course and has promised the changes to the rules will be “irreversible”.

So with step two now underway, attention will turn to step three out of lockdown and the further easing of restrictions.

Here is what we know so far:

When does step three start?

The road map suggests the next easing of restrictions will take place no earlier than Monday, May 17.

The Government and scientists have long insisted they will be driven by data and not dates, perhaps suggesting any phases of the roadmap could be pushed back.

Social contact

One of the biggest elements of step three will see household mixing inside permitted once again.

At present, you can only mix with another household, or no more than six people, outside.

The rule of six will be in place indoors from May 17, but will be expanded to up to 30 outdoors.

The Government says it will also provide an update on whether hugging is allowed.

Reopening of businesses indoors

Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve food and drink inside once step three begins.

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Experts say only 40 per cent of pubs are reopening today under step two rules because it is not possible or financially viable for some venues to do so.

However, it is likely all pubs will reopen from May 17.

Cinemas will also be able to reopen under step three rules, as will the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs.

Indoor gym and exercise classes will be allowed.

The government is planning to allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people.

That limit will rise to 4,000 people at outdoor venues, and up to 10,000 In the largest arenas such as sport stadiums.


Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals.

This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

What about foreign travel?

There is hope that holidays and non-essential travel abroad will be legalised as part of step three.

One idea being considered is a traffic-light system which could determine which countries people are allowed to travel to, based on infection rates.

Last week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said foreign holidays would resume on May 17 at the earliest.

But the Department for Transport struck a somewhat more cautious tone, with a spokesman adding: "It is too early to predict which countries will be on which list over the summer, and the Government continues to consider a range of factors to inform the restrictions placed on them.

“We will set out by early May which countries will fall into which category, as well as confirming whether international travel can resume from 17 May.”