Coronavirus: What am I allowed to do in the hot weather this weekend?

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By Ian Westbrook
BBC News

Two women walk past a stall selling toys on a beach

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Much of the UK is set to enjoy hot weather over the weekend.

But what are you allowed to do while following the latest coronavirus guidelines?

Can I go to the park or the beach with friends?

Yes, people are now allowed to meet up outdoors across the UK. However, social distancing guidelines are still in place.

These include limits on the number of people in a group – the details of which vary.

For example, in England the guidelines say you can can meet six people from multiple households outdoors, or up to 30 people from two households. In Scotland, the limit is 15 people from up to five households.

Although people will be meeting up outdoors, you should still think about how far apart you keep.

That means one metre plus where 2m (6ft) is not possible in England, 2m in Scotland and Wales, 1m with restrictions in Northern Ireland.

So, with that in mind, you can get together for a chat, a picnic, or to play sport.

However, if a particular place becomes too crowded, it is possible visitors could be turned away.

A major incident was declared in Bournemouth in June when too many people descended on the town’s beaches.

In England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has an exceptional new power to completely close a specific public place.

And he has also given local councils a suite of new powers to close down premises, stop events and shut down places like parks.

This could be used to close beaches or beauty spots if there are concerns about crowds potentially spreading the virus.

How do I safely host guests at home?

Unless you are affected by a local lockdown, you can entertain guests at home this weekend.

If you are serving food, or having a barbecue, experts recommend precautions such as:

  • Put food straight on plates and don’t use large serving bowls
  • Avoid serving cold food which needs “handling”, like cold meats or salads
  • Use detergent or soapy water to regularly wipe down places people touch regularly
  • Wash hands frequently

Eating outdoors is recommended, but if you eat indoors try to keep windows and doors open for ventilation.

Numbers of people allowed in houses and private gardens in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland differ, while indoor meetings are not allowed in Wales.

Can we go out for a pint or a meal?

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If you want to go and sit in a beer garden, or on a restaurant terrace, you can, as pubs, restaurants and cafes across the UK are now open again.
Guidance has been issued in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on measures they need to take to keep customers and staff safe.
  • Book ahead
  • Give contact details
  • Follow a one-way system
  • Be offered table service

Businesses have been asked to try to:

  • Avoid face-to-face seating
  • Monitor crowd density, and cut the number of people in enclosed spaces
  • Improve ventilation
  • Changing shift patterns so staff work in set teams

What about going away for the weekend?

Going away this weekend with members of your own household, on your own, or with friends, is possible.

Again, social distancing guidelines must be followed and the number of people who can make the trip differs across the UK.

For example, in England, two households of any size can meet up indoors – and this can be in shared accommodation away from home. In Wales, overnight stays are only permitted where two households have formed an “extended household”.

Holidaymakers are advised to “take particular care to maintain excellent hygiene – washing hands and surfaces – and avoid using shared facilities like bathrooms wherever possible”.

You are also advised not to share private swimming pools, paddling pools or any sort of garden equipment with anyone outside your own household or support bubble.

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