Lily Newton-Browne Weston Mercury May 7, 2021

Step 3 lockdown easing

Indoor hospitality at pubs and restaurants across North Somerset and Somerset will be allowed to open again when the country moves to Step 3 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, which is scheduled for May 17. Cinemas and theatres, such as The Ritz Cinema in Burnham and Clevedon’s Curzon Cinema, will also be allowed to welcome back audiences, and hotels and holiday accommodation can also open their doors again.

Here’s a list of the Step 3 changes, which will be no earlier than May 17.

Indoor entertainment and indoor attractions can open.

30 person limit outdoors. Rule of 6 or two households indoors (subject to review).

Domestic overnight stays allowed.

Organised indoor adult sport back.

Most significant life events, 30 people can attend.

Cap on number of funeral mourners lifted.

Remaining outdoor entertainment (including performances) allowed.

Remaining accommodation can open.

Some large events (expect for pilots) – capacity limits apply.

Indoor events: 1,000 or 50%.

Outdoor other events: 4,000 or 50%.

Outdoor seated events: 10,000 or 25%.

International travel – subject to review.

While indoor entertainment and visitor attractions can welcome back customers, some businesses will have to remain closed until June 21 at the earliest under the roadmap restrictions.

These include nightclubs, which have been closed for more than a year, and adult entertainment venues such as lap dance clubs.

Following the move to Step 3, further venues will be permitted to open in England.

Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage – in a group of six people, the ‘Rule of 6’, or two households indoors. This is subject to review though.

The government is poised to lift most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors, but gatherings of more than 30 people outdoors will remain illegal for now.

Indoor areas of hospitality venues will be allowed to reopen when the third stage of the government’s roadmap comes into effect.

As outdoors, table service will be required for venues that serve alcohol, even if no alcohol is ordered.

This means customers must order, be served and eat/drink while seated.

If a venue does not serve alcohol, customers can order and collect food and drink from a counter, but they must consume food and drink while seated at a table.

Venues will be prohibited from providing smoking equipment such as shisha pipes, for use on the premises.

While live music venues, theatres and cinemas are set to reopen from May 17, there are capacity limits on numbers and audiences will be socially distanced until Step 4.

The Odeon cinema chain, for example, will introduce strict social distancing measures and screens will be unable to be at full capacity.

Screenings will be limited, including empty seats between groups of guests, and staggered start times to reduce queues in foyers.

Cinema-goers will also have to wear a face covering, although they will be allowed to remove them to eat or drink snacks, and masks will not be needed when sat in Odeon’s Costa outlets.

Attendances at live events will be restricted to 1,000 people or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, for indoor events, and 50 per cent of capacity up to 4,000 people for outdoor events.

For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers will have a 25 per cent capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people.

These events should be ticketed.

What happens at Step 4?

In Step 4, the government hope to reopen remaining settings, such as nightclubs. This will happen at least five weeks after the Step 3 date.

Plans are in place to lift restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3, such as capacity restrictions, including for theatre performances.

The Playhouse in Weston will open in autumn. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The Playhouse in Weston will open in autumn. Picture: MARK ATHERTON – Credit: Archant

This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme pilots, and a review of social distancing measures.

The government will also look to relax COVID-secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews.