Have your say: Which part of 17 May COVID lockdown easing are you looking forward to most?

·2-min read

Hugs with family and friends and indoor socialising are expected to be allowed from next week as Boris Johnson announces further easing of coronavirus restrictions in England.

The next stage – called Step 3 – in the government's roadmap will permit people to meet in groups of six or two households indoors from 17 May, while pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers inside. Domestic overnight stays will be allowed with people who aren't in your household or bubble.

A single mother hugs her mother and shares a tender bonding moment with each other.
Friends and family could be allowed to hug each other under England's latest lockdown easing. (Getty)

Cinemas, theatres, museums and soft-play areas can reopen, as can hotels, hostels and B&Bs.

The government has also suggested that physical contact between friends and family will also be allowed from next Monday.

On Sunday, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove suggested physical contact between friends and family will be allowed.

Speaking on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, he said: “Without prejudice to a broader review of social distancing, it is also the case that friendly contact, intimate contact, between friends and family is something we want to see restored.”

The government has said the latest data suggests easing restrictions from 17 May is unlikely to risk a resurgence in infections.

It comes as latest figures show a third of UK adults are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with a total of 17,669,379 people having received both of the jabs needed – the equivalent of 33.5% of all people aged 18 and over.

More than 50 million vaccine doses have been administered in the UK, and the government has said it is on track to offer all adults a first dose by the end of July.

Johnson is set to host a press conference on Monday evening at 5pm to confirm the further easing of restrictions.

He said: “The road map remains on track, our successful vaccination programme continues – more than two-thirds of adults in the UK have now had the first vaccine – and we can now look forward to unlocking cautiously but irreversibly.”

Read more: Hugs set to return from 17 May as PM outlines lockdown easing

The government said infection rates are at the lowest level since September and hospital admissions and patients continue to decrease, or plateau at low levels in some areas, with levels similar to July last year.

Figures show a further two people had died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday, bringing the UK total to 127,605, with a further 1,770 lab-confirmed cases.

Watch: Gove says government wants to restore 'contact between friends and family'