Borough Insight

Step three - overview

Image: Waiter serving inside wearing a facemask

Step three of the government's roadmap out of lockdown which was implemented on Monday (17 May) saw further restrictions lifted.The main changes are listed below.

It is important that we all remember that COVID-19 is still a part of our lives, so we must:

  • Continue to follow the principles of ‘hands, face, space and ventilation’
  • Follow the Covid-secure measures that remain in place at different stages
  • Get tested when needed, eg if you cannot work from home, have someone in your household attending or working in education or have symptoms of COVID-19
  • Get vaccinated when offered

Social contact

As part of step three, the government continues easing limits on seeing friends and family, allowing people where possible to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.

This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors have been lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people remain illegal. Indoors, the rule of six or two households apply.

Business and activities

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors are now able to reopen. COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will can now reopen - venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.

Other indoor locations to open up in step three include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children's play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. The government is also allowing some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people are able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).


Up to 30 people are now 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.

Face masks

Face masks must still be worn in public indoor settings, on public transport and anywhere where social distancing is difficult.

Secondary school pupils in England are no longer required to wear face masks in class or school communial areas.

International travel

Some international travel is now permitted, allowing people to go on foreign holidays to ‘green’ list countries however travellers need to check on what restrictions apply at their destinations (and if they are allowed in at all). Strict border control measures will remain in place, including pre-departure tests and a PCR test on or before day two of arrival back in the UK.

Care homes

Care homes residents are able to have up to five named visitors, with two visitors able to attend at once provided they are tested and follow infection control measures. Residents also have greater freedoms to leave their home without having to isolate on their return.

For full information on the current guidance see: 

Step 4 is due to take place no earlier than 21 June.

Information correct at time of publishing


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