Families and friends CAN hug from next week as lockdown restrictions relaxed, Michael Gove confirms

FAMILY and friends WILL be allowed to hug from next week as lockdown is eased, Michael Gove confirmed today.

The Cabinet Office minister said "contact between friends and family" is something the Government wants to see "restored" ahead of Boris Johnson's address to the nation tomorrow.

He confirmed that Boris Johnson would set out the rules tomorrow during a Downing Street press conference, where Brits will be told to use their “common sense”.

Mr Gove told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "All being well, the Prime Minister will confirm tomorrow that there will be a relaxation, we've already indicated a proportionate relaxation on international travel, very limited at this stage because we have to be safe.

"In the same way, as we move into stage three of our road map it will be the case that we will see people capable of meeting indoors.

"And 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."

At the moment anyone who doesn't live together is advised to keep at least 1.5 metres away from others to stop the spread of the virus.

But Brits will be told they can decide on their own levels of risk "for their own circumstances" and take decisions into their own hands after months of advice from ministers about what to do.

Number 10 sources have told The Telegraph Mr Johnson is likely to tell the public tomorrow that everyone should use their “personal judgement” and their “common sense” when it comes to hugging friends and family after May 17.

It is thought that the PM will also confirm changes to the restrictions surrounding care home residents.

They are now allowed to go on trips to a family members garden or a park without having to self-isolate for 14 days when they return.

And he will announce that while funerals can have up to 30 mourners, the restrictions for weddings will remain the same.

From May 17, people will finally be able to meet their loved ones inside their homes again.

It means groups of six or fewer – or two households – will be allowed to meet indoors.

Domestic overnight stays will also be given the thumbs up from this date – but people should still social distance from people they don't live with.

The last relaxation of rules in April gave the thumbs up to pubs and restaurants opening up – but only for service outside.

But from next week they will be able to fling their doors back open and welcome customers back inside.

Venues will be allowed to provide table service only, with the rule of six in place for indoors diners and drinkers.

And the rule of six for outdoor gatherings will be extended to the rule of 30 from May 17.

Meanwhile Leisure facilities such as cinemas, bingo halls, and theatres will be given the green light to reopen.

And indoor sports such as badminton will be permitted once again, and some gym classes will be able to resume.

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