Coronavirus (Covid-19) - our latest updates

Friday 14 May
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Greater freedoms ahead

There are less than three days to go until the next step of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, and with it, an approach to safely reopening more of society and enjoying greater freedoms.

Here's what's changing and what you'll be able to do from Monday 17 May.

  • You will be able to meet up socially indoors with different households in groups of up to six people or two households. No more dodging the rain and cold! Just remember to open a window to let fresh air in.
  • The limit for outdoor gatherings will increase to 30 people.
  • Indoor hospitality will reopen. As in Step two, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and there won’t be a curfew. You will, however, still have to order, eat and drink while seated.
  • Other indoor locations to open up include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, children’s play areas, indoor adult group sports, exercise classes and the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs.
  • Overnight stays with friends and family will be allowed with groups of six people or two households. Remember to open a window to let fresh air in.
  • Some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is the lower number) will be permitted, and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is the lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
  • Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.
  • The blanket legal attendance limit for funerals will be lifted by government although the need for social distancing will still mean reduced capacity in some venues, especially smaller spaces. Therefore funerals at Scarborough’s Woodlands Chapel will remain limited to 20 people. We will continue to keep up to date with any changes to social distancing requirements the government may consider in the future and what impact they could have on the number of people the chapel can accommodate. 

There is much to look forward to from next week and provided we exercise our renewed freedoms with common sense and caution, we can work together as a community to take the next step safely.

Our advice is to travel safely and plan ahead. If using public transport, remember to wear a face covering, unless you are exempt. Sanitise your hands regularly and keep your distance where possible.

Hugging has been a hot topic this week so we thought it would be useful to provide some advice on close contact to cut through the ‘noise’ elsewhere.

From 17 May, instead of staying two metres apart from family and friends (who are not part of your household), you will have the choice on whether to maintain social distancing with them.

This will apply to everyone, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and pregnant women.

Everyone’s risk will be different depending on a wide range of factors including lifestyle, working patterns, personal health, level of interaction with others outside their household and whether or not they’ve been vaccinated.

You should therefore remain cautious about the risks from close personal contact such as hugging (as this remains a direct way of transmitting the disease) and take steps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Following safe behaviours will mitigate the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19. These include taking the vaccine when offered it, taking a freely available rapid lateral flow test (ideally twice a week), minimising how many people you are in close contact with and for how long, meeting outside where possible and getting a PCR test and isolating if you have Covid-19 symptoms or test positive.

You should continue to to make space for other people to maintain social distance when out and about. Wider social distancing rules will remain in many indoor venues beyond the home such as adult social care, medical settings, retail, hospitality, gyms and business settings.

As always, more information is available at

Thank you for your ongoing support. Let’s take the next step safely together.