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People enjoying the sun with a drink in pub gardens across Sefton today as Stage Two lockdown begins

As Stage Two of the lockdown comes into force today, people in Formby are out enjoying the sunshine and the new rules allow them to finally sit in a pub garden and enjoy a drink. All the shops are open, pub gardens open, gyms are open, hairdressers and barbers are open.

Pub gardens, gyms and non-essential shops can now open in England - as part of the next stage of easing lockdown rules.

What are the rules in England?

  • More businesses can now open as part of Stage two easing of lockdown rules.

  • Outside, six people or two households can meet - even in private gardens.

  • You should continue to work from home if you can and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible.

  • Mixing indoors with people not in your household or bubble is still not allowed .

The following is now permitted or allowed to open:

  • All shops

  • Hairdressers, beauty salons and other close-contact services

  • Restaurants and pubs (serving food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors)

  • Gyms, spas, zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres

  • Holidays in England in self-contained accommodation by members of the same household

  • Non-essential journeys between England and Wales

  • Weddings - up to 15 people

  • Funerals - up to 30 people, with 15 at wakes

  • Indoor children's activities

  • Two care home visitors per resident

  • Driving lessons - with driving tests restarting on 22 April

Stage three (no earlier than 17 May):

  • People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors

  • Six people or two households can meet indoors

  • Domestic overnight stays allowed with people not in your household or bubble

  • Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors

  • Up to 30 people can attend weddings or other life events, like christenings

  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can open

  • Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres, cinemas and children's play areas can open

  • Performances and large events can restart, but with limits on audience numbers

  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen

  • International leisure travel may resume

  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can restart

Stage four (no earlier than 21 June):

  • It's hoped all legal limits on social contact will be removed

  • No legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events

  • Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen

What are the four tests for easing restrictions?

  • The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan

  • Vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying or needing hospital treatment

  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions

  • New coronavirus variants do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions

Yet to be decided:

There are a few rules and issues that have not yet been agreed and will be subject to review during the easing of lockdown.

1. The one-metre plus rule, mandatory facemasks and working from home

The government hopes to conclude a review of this before step four.

2. Whether you can use proof of having a COVID-19 vaccine to enter mass events

The government hopes to set out the conclusion of a review prior to step four on whether vaccine or test certificates could be used to reopen the rest of the economy.

3. International travel

The government has said this will not resume before 17 May following a review that will be completed by 12 April.

4. Major events

The government has said testing could be used to ensure people can safely attend large events.

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