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What has changed with ‘cautious’ lockdown easing?

Small social gatherings are now permitted.

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Small social gatherings will be permitted (Danny Lawson/PA)

Small social gatherings will be permitted (Danny Lawson/PA)

Small social gatherings will be permitted (Danny Lawson/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a “cautious” easing of lockdown in England, but what has actually changed?

The main change to the rules means small social gatherings are now permitted, but Mr Johnson also confirmed alterations regarding schools and retail businesses at the Downing Street press conference on Thursday.

– Small social gatherings

From Monday groups of up to six people from outside one household can meet in private gardens for chats and barbecues provided those from different households stay two metres apart.

But they would not be allowed to stay overnight, or go indoors other than to gain access to a garden, the PM said.

Until now, families and friendship groups have only been able to meet with one other person outside their household, in public spaces such as parks, while obeying the two-metre rule.

Mr Johnson said the prospect of “perhaps seeing both parents at once, or both grandparents at once” will be a “long-awaited joyful moment” for many.

– Schools

Schools will be reopened to more children from Monday.

Mr Johnson said kids had been “deprived of their education” as he announced nurseries, early-years settings, and Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in primary schools would return to class in a “safe way”.

The PM added that, from June 15, secondary schools will begin to provide “some face to face contact time” for years 10 and 12.

It comes despite pressure from education unions and councils who had urged the Government to reconsider its plans to open schools more widely, citing safety concerns.

– Retail

Some shops are also set to reopen from Monday in a limited way.

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More shops will start to reopen in June (Victoria Jones/PA)

More shops will start to reopen in June (Victoria Jones/PA)

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More shops will start to reopen in June (Victoria Jones/PA)

Outdoor retail and car showrooms will be the first to open their doors to the public as those settings make social distancing “generally easier”, the PM said.

Two weeks later, on June 15, the Government intends to open other non-essential retail shops, such as fashion or homeware retail.

The Government has previously said stores will have to meet Covid-19 safety and security guidelines and has advised face coverings should be worn in some shops.

Other businesses, such as pubs, hairdressers and cinemas will have to wait until July before they can reopen, the Government has previously said.

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