Central Government: Restrictions to change on May 17

May 12, 2021

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Stay safe and keep following the rules until restrictions change on 17 May

Following the Prime Minister’s confirmation of the move to Step 3 of the Government’s roadmap from 17 May, and the reopening of more businesses, we are asking people to keep following the current rules until they change.

Currently people can only socialise indoors with people they live with or who are in their support bubble. It is also possible to meet outside in groups of up to six people or two households. People are also asked to work from home if they can and minimise travel.

However, the Government has confirmed that from Monday 17 May, restrictions will be further eased. This means that some limits on seeing friends and family will be lifted, so that indoors the rule of 6 or two households will now be permitted. Restrictions on meeting outdoors will also be lifted, although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.

In addition to this, most remaining businesses can reopen, including indoor hospitality businesses such as pubs and restaurants; indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas; and hotels and B&Bs.

Indoor hospitality must have new COVID-secure measures in place from 17 May, and businesses can only cater for groups of six people or two households. Venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew, but customers will have to order, eat and drink while seated.

Funeral venues will be allowed to decide how many mourners they can accommodate, adhering to social distancing rules.  Up to 30 people will be allowed to attend wakes.

A maximum of 30 people will be able to attend weddings and receptions. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

However, it is vital that we all carry on following the current Government guidance for another week as this will help to keep the rate of COVID-19 transmission in Wiltshire down and save lives. If we all keep playing our part, we’re much more likely to receive better news in June, when we hope we can move to Step 4 on the Government’s roadmap.

Summary of changes from 17 May


People can hug loved ones they don’t live if with they think it is safe to do so, but are still advised to keep 1.5 metres away from strangers.

Meeting indoors

People can meet indoors in groups of six or two households of any size.

Overnight stays

Overnight stays will be allowed.

Groups outdoors

Bigger outdoor gatherings will be allowed, with groups of up to 30 people. Social distancing will still need to be in place for these gatherings.

Pubs, restaurants and cafes indoors

Pubs, restaurants and cafes can welcome customers back inside. They will need to offer table service only, with the rule of six people or two households of any size.

Domestic holidays

People can go on domestic holidays with friends and family they do not live with, provided they stick to the rule of six or two households.

Foreign travel

Foreign travel will be allowed from 17 May, but there will be a traffic light system for international travel, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.


Funeral attendance will no longer be limited to 30 people, but will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. Up to 30 people can attend a wake.

Weddings, Ceremonies

Restrictions for weddings remain the same. Only 30 people are allowed to attend indoor ceremonies and receptions in Covid secure venues.

Big events

Indoor events like concerts will be allowed with a capacity limit of 1,000 or 50% - whichever is smaller.

Outdoor events will be permitted to welcome up to 4,000 people or operate at 50% capacity. Seated outdoor events will be allowed 10,000 people or 25% capacity.

Cinemas, museums, theatres and children's indoor play areas

Visitors will need to follow social distancing rules and wear face masks.

Saunas and steam rooms

Will be allowed to reopen.

Indoor group sports and exercise

Exercise classes and indoor group sports can resume, but must be organised by a by business, public body or charity and the organiser must take reasonable measure to reduce the risk of transmission.


Hotels, hostels and B&Bs will reopen from 17 May.

Care homes

Rules for care home residents going out and receiving visitors will change, allowing up to five named visitors (two at any one time), provided visitors test negative for COVID-19.

Work for home

This advice remains in place

Public transport

Social distancing guidance remains the same


Travel safety and plan ahead remains the message

Face masks in school

Removed face masks for children and teachers when in class