The Prime Minister took to the podium last night to set out the next stage of unlocking, which is starting on 17th May as expected (hurrah!). And it’s the biggest one yet, with restaurants opening indoors for the first time since December 15th. But Boris also had some news for anyone who’s missed hugging.

Amid news that covid cases continue to plummet, hospitalisations are very low and daily deaths are routinely in single figures (yesterday there were zero coronavirus deaths in England), as well as news that variants of concern are not running out of control, the government got the boffins’ green light to smash the unlock button.

Cool, so restaurants are back to normal?

Yes and no. So restaurants, pubs and hospitality will be once again able to open up indoors, which is mega. With so many unable to sustainably operate from three tables on a busy pavement, the ability to trade from their usual dining rooms will mean that furloughed employees can return and businesses can once again start to make profit.

However, the rule-of-six rule which currently applies outdoors will move indoors, along with the one-metre-plus rule, for now.

And will rule-of-six remain outside?

No, it’ll go back up to 30. If you’ve managed to hold onto 30 friends in a year devoid of socialisation!

What about hotels?

Yep, book that country house mini break like now! From London staycations to luxurious spa hotels in the countryside, the industry is set to boom.

We simply can’t wait!

Can I have sleepovers?

Slip some PJs on and let’s have a pillow fight. You can have up to six people to stay, or two households of however many.

And cinemas?

Order a massive tub of popcorn, we’re going to the cinema! Cinemas will be open again from Monday, though there might not be a great selection of flicks released to actually watch.

And it’s not just cinemas, the same applies to bingo halls and theatres. And, handily, Hamilton just announced it’s reopening.

The Newt in Somerset (#minibreakgoals)

I want to go to a festival!

As we all know, Glastonbury and some other big festivals have told us they’re sitting 2021 out, but the new rules will allow for large-scale events, sports events and so on. There are currently caps on numbers, but within another month it’s likely there won’t be any.

Check this likely out-of-date article for some more info…

Should I dust off my morning suit?

Likely it won’t fit, but yes weddings are going to be expanded from 15 guests to 30, and likely unlimited from June 21st. Of course if you’re planning a wedding then you’re no doubt acutely aware of these rules.

More than 30 can attend a funeral now too. Though no dancing is currently allowed (at the weddings, we’re assuming).

I’ll need to lose some weight then!

You’re in luck here too, indoor exercise classes will reopen from 17th May too. At the same time adult indoor sports can resume, just in time for the summer weather…

And hugging, that’s back on, right?

Boris refused to be drawn by journalists’ repeated questions at last night’s press conference as to who he would hug first (wink wink, but poor Carrie). But the PM was clear that hugging will be allowed once again, though he urged us to use our judgement given that close contact like hugging is exactly how covid spreads…

Okay, let’s hug at the airport, I’m off!

While the government’s Green List of a dozen countries you can now visit, the reality as we discovered yesterday, is that there are in effect three countries you can visit. Portugal, Iceland and Gibraltar. Good luck!

I only read this article because of the incredibly click-baity ‘face rot’ headline. Was that a wind-up?

No, it’s a thing. In India, where the virus is now spreading like wildfire doctors are seeing a spike in a normally rare condition among Covid-19 recoverees.

With a 50 percent mortality, the black fungus seems to be increasingly infecting recovered  patients in India, where doctors are forced to remove parts of the face of some sufferers to save their lives.

It doesn’t seem to be directly linked to covid itself but is a rare bug that spreads in Indian hospitals and is exacerbated by the steroids used to treat the virus.

Still, vaccine sceptics take note, yet another reason to get the jab…

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