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Two households will be allowed to meet up indoors and stay overnight in England from 4 July, Boris Johnson has said.
The prime minister announced a raft of changes to the UK’s coronavirus lockdown in the latest easing of restrictions.
Currently, people in England are only allowed to meet people from other households outdoors in groups of up to six – and they must maintain social distancing.
People are also allowed to meet for exercise, or in parks and gardens, but Johnson said the rules will be changed from early next month to allow people more freedom to socialise.
From July 4 onwards two households of any size will be able to meet “in any setting”, he said, and overnight stays will be permitted.
"From now on, we will ask people to follow guidance on social contact instead of legislation,” he said.
"In that spirit, we advise that from July 4, two households of any size should be able to meet in any setting inside or out.
"That does not mean they must always be the same two households, it will be possible for instance to meet one set of grandparents one weekend, the others the following weekend.
"But we are not recommending meetings of multiple households indoors because of the risk of creating greater chains of transmission."
Johnson said the falling numbers of infections had justified the easing of restrictions, but warned that “the virus has not gone away”.
He said: “There is only one certainty – the fewer social contacts you have, the safer you will be.”
Other measures to be changed by the PM include the two-metre social distancing rule which will be eased to allow pubs and restaurants to reopen.
Hotels, restaurants, pubs, cinemas and hairdressers reopen from July 4 providing they are "COVID-secure".
Theatres and concert halls can also open but cannot stage live performances.
However, nightclubs, indoor gyms and beauty salons must remain closed "for now", Johnson said.
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