THIS week has seen hairdressers, pubs, gyms and shops open their doors for the first time this year.

Many businesses across the conurbation had to close to customers after Christmas when the area entered Tier 4 measures.

This was soon followed by a lockdown brought in across England on January 5.

Many of us will have ventured out for a much-needed haircut, enjoyed a trip to the pub with friends or hit the gym as we take slow and steady steps back towards normality.

The third stage of the government’s roadmap will see further restrictions eased on May 17.

Here we take a look at what will happen next month.

What will I be able to do from May 17?

Social contact

Dorset Echo:

The government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the “appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.”

Most restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted but gatherings of more than 30 people will remain illegal.

Meeting indoors under the ‘rule of six’ or two households will apply.

It is hoped that people will be able to stay overnight with others not in their household.


Indoor hospitality

Dorset Echo:

Pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to serve people indoors. Currently, venues are only allowed to give outdoor service and there are still lots of venues that haven't been able to open their doors due to lack of outdoor space. 

Customers won’t have to order a 'substantial meal' with alcoholic drinks and there won’t be a curfew.

However, people will have to order, eat and drink while seated.

Cinemas, theatres and museums 

Dorset Echo:

Cinemas, theatres and will be able to reopen. In March, Cineworld said it planned to reopen its venues in May.


Dorset Echo:

If you’ve been itching to get away from home, you’ll be pleased to hear that hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts will be able to reopen.

At the moment, overnight stays away from home in England are permitted in self-contained accommodation for people in the same household or support bubble.


Dorset Echo:

Indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will be able to resume. Currently people can take part in outdoor sports such as golf, tennis and basketball, plus visit gyms and swimming pools. 

Sporting events and performances

Dorset Echo:

The government will allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number).

Outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number) will also be able to open.

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).

Weddings and other events

Dorset Echo:

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.

Will I be able to hug people?

Dorset Echo:

The government website says that “as soon as possible” or by no later than step three, there will be an update on advice on social distancing between friends and family, which includes hugging.

It adds that up to this point “people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble”.

Will there be a review of social distancing?

Dorset Echo:

A statement on the government website says: "Finally, before Step 4 begins, the government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission.

"This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted. This will also inform guidance on working from home – which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete."

Will I be able to go abroad for a holiday?

Dorset Echo:

Last week, The Department for Transport (DfT) refused to confirm whether foreign holidays will be permitted from May 17, which is the earliest date under the Prime Minister’s road map for easing coronavirus restrictions in England.

A traffic light system categorising countries based on their Covid-19 risk levels forms part of potential plans for the return of foreign holidays.

The DfT insisted it was “too early to predict which countries will be on which list” under a new risk-based traffic light system, with an “initial assessment” to be produced “by early May”.

The government is due to give an update on international travel nearer the time. 

When will stage four of reopening take place?

The fourth and final phase of the roadmap is June 21 when it is hoped that all limits on social contact will be removed.

Nightclubs and other premises that have not been able to reopen up to this point, will also be able open their doors with restrictions eased on large events and performances.